Monday, December 12, 2016 Voices of Family Promise
Our Community Blog: Jen Isralowitz, Volunteer and Donor, “A Time for Giving”
I became involved with Family Promise seven years ago, when a friend invited my daughter and me to join her family at Summit’s Unitarian Church in hosting guest families on Christmas Day. Those few hours in the church basement exposed how little my family understood about homelessness in our local community.
My daughter spent time playing with several children of homeless families. She was struck by the fact that these children were so much like her—they listened to the same music, played similar games, and went to school every day. And I came to realize that these parents were working hard to provide for their children, and just needed the support of the community during a difficult time in their lives.
Over the years, as my daughter became involved in the Family Promise Club in high school, we have volunteered in local churches and at our own synagogue, Congregation Ohr Shalom. These institutions form the infrastructure of the organization, uniting our community in service. I think it is important for my kids to see how we can make a difference in the lives of others by converting our local houses of worship into temporary homes for families in need.
The more I learn about this organization, the more I want to be involved. My husband and I became donors after hearing the stories of hardworking families who were able to secure housing and financial independence after a temporary assist from Family Promise. I was especially touched by a proud family who received help when they were at a crossroads and whose children are now off to college.
I’ve watched Family Promise change lives, one family at a time—bringing together people who need a boost with volunteers who are eager to provide one. I believe our entire community benefits from the experience.