Acts of Compassion have the Power to Change the Lives of Families
Volunteers are the heart and soul of Family Promise Essex. Each year over 1000 volunteers provide hospitality at the congregations, tutor in the after-school program, participate in donation drives, and help at events. Volunteers often express how much they enjoy meeting FPE families, and how inspired they are to advocate for the families and help initiate change. Adult volunteers bring their children with them, teaching the need for compassion and action. We have had volunteers refer clients for jobs, share special events such as baby’s first steps, and keep in touch with families after they left the program. At FPE, volunteers play an essential role in helping families experiencing homelessness attain sustainable independence. We couldn’t do it without you!
- Donor Profile: Why I Give
“IHN has been providing an effective pathway to safe housing for 30 years; doing this work with care and love. I hope more people will join me in helping continue this critical work.” – Margo
Margo Greenfield is a 30-year volunteer, current IHN Coordinator at St. Stephen’s Church in Millburn, and one of IHN’s earliest donors. Margo began volunteering with Interfaith Hospitality Network Essex County in 1988. “It was the end of the Reagan years when it seemed homelessness was a temporary problem, reflecting slashes in government spending for social services. None of us thought we’d be doing this work for 30 years, “Margo explained.
Margo described how IHN was a “shoestring operation” back then, with a van and a part-time Director/Social Worker, who screened applicants and guided IHN clients in their search for housing and jobs. “When our kids were young, we volunteered with IHN as a family. We prepared and served meals, helped with homework and played with the children in the program. My kids saw it as simply playing and sharing their games with children whose families were in a temporary, difficult situation.” Margo’s children are grown now, and still see the importance of volunteering and sharing what they have with their neighbors. According to Margo “If children are raised with an understanding of how important it is to give back to the community, it becomes a part of who they are.”
As the years of volunteering went by, Margo and her family knew they wanted to give in a more considerable way. She began to donate, including making yearly pledges and recurring monthly gifts for special projects. She felt her consistent gifts would supply IHN with the financial security to be able to focus on developing more programs and for future growth. “I want to give where I can have a direct impact and know that my support makes a difference. I have seen IHN lift families into a better quality of life.”
Long term donors, like Margo, are an essential part of the IHN community. With their consistent, predictable support, IHN can make plans for the future to more effectively assist families.
Margo leaves us with this thought: “IHN, with its supporting congregations and volunteers, has been providing an effective pathway to safe housing for 30 years, and doing this work with care and love. I hope more people will join me in helping continue this critical work.”