The inspiration for Family Promise began with a woman who regularly encountered homeless people in New York City. Karen Olson, now president emeritus of the national organization, came to know many of the city’s homeless people after she and her two sons began to bring food to them. Olson soon learned even in her home community of Union County, NJ, there were hundreds of homeless people, including families. Many families did not turn to shelters for fear of being separated. She looked to the religious community for help, convinced that together they could do what they couldn’t do alone.
Within ten months, 11 area congregations came forward to provide hospitality space within their buildings. All the pieces fell into place and on October 27, 1986, the first Interfaith Hospitality Network opened its doors.
Since then, Family Promise has established more than 240 affiliates in 43 states, using the services of more than 200,000 volunteers and 6,500 congregations. Family Promise provides shelter, meals, housing, and job placement support to more than 126,000 homeless family members annually, 58 percent of them children
Family Promise JAX works with homeless families to tailor individualized plans to help them take the necessary steps toward lasting independence. All Family Promise guest families receive:
- Overnight accommodations at a local congregation
- 3 meals a day for families in the program
- Intensive, individualized case management
- Family Center/office with internet access, guest phone, laundry, and showers
- Transportation assistance to school, work, job interviews, medical appointments and more
- Social support from volunteers
- Linkage with needed social and educational services
how PVUMC is involved
Ponte Vedra UMC serves as a hosting site. That means 2-4 times a year, families reside with us for a few days to a week; our small groups rotate cooking, serving and eating with these families, with individual church members signing up for overnight hosting duties. We have the joy and the privilege of sharing fellowship, hearing their stories and praying with and for these families. If you would like more information on how you can help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.