2020 has been a not too subtle reminder to treasure every moment of life. Everything we have is a gift. Even when things look bleak, life is full of abundant blessings. Sometimes we just need to be intentional about recognizing the good things in life. As we say thank you to you for your commitment to those experiencing homelessness and wish you a blessed Thanksgiving Holiday here is my Family Promise list of ten items for which I am thankful.
Covid-19 forced us to suspend our congregational shelter program and to make significant programmatic changes. This past year we: ended the rotational model of shelter; began a new prevention program; re-emphasized helping alumni and begun a new Apartment Shelter Program. Our staff, volunteer coordinators, and volunteers understood the need to change and supported us every step of the way. Family Promise of Waukesha County had to either adapt or close. Thank you for innovation.
- THE FAMILY PROMISE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION
We are one of 200 affiliates nationwide. Being a part of this larger organization is very helpful for us locally. The national organization provides support for staff and board as well as a place to discuss our issues. Being a part of a national organization helps us know we are not alone and demonstrates the power of many working for a common goal. Thank you FP National!
- BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The board of directors provides vision for the organization. This dedicated group of volunteers has been openness to allowing the organization to grow and change. Whether it has been countless meetings, purchasing a building, helping at a Brat-Fry, planning a golf -outing, or reviewing policies, the board of directors are committed to making Family Promise of Waukesha County an organization making a significant difference in the lives of families. Thank you to the Board of Directors!
- SUPPORT AND HOST CONGREGATIONS
Faith Communities have had their own challenge of discerning how to live their mission beyond a building. Yet, their support for Family Promise has not wavered. It is impressive that even though they too have had to adapt, they have continued to provide support in the form of supplies, volunteers, financial gifts, and advice. Thank you to our Support and Host Congregations
- NEW DAY CENTER
It is mind boggling that during the pandemic and having to figure out new programs, we were able to purchase a new facility. This decision is going to help secure the future of Family Promise because it puts us in a location that allows families to better access services, will allow us to collaborate with other service organizations, and the space will just be better for the families using the Day Center. We are thankful for the many new possibilities and option this new facility presents us.
- FAMILY PROMISE STAFF
Christina, Jenna, and Rebecca are awesome! None of the programs would exist without these staff members. We are especially thankful for Chy Chy, Katie and Ed. Unfortunately, when the programs changed, we did not have a role for them. All staff members care deeply for the families we serve. Thank you FP staff! We appreciate each of you.
- VOLUNTEERS AND DONORS
In the middle of the summer I met a person at the Day Center who was dropping off some supplies they had collected. I told them how much I appreciated their support and was impressed by their multiple donations. They responded, “You keep asking!” That is the way it is here at Family Promise. The volunteer coordinators, volunteers, donors respond when asked. People have helped us pack, move, disassemble cubicles, set up an apartment, collect supplies, gift cards and winter clothes. There is goodness in this community! Thank you to our volunteers and donors.
Hope is the knowledge or belief that when everything is awful it is not the end of the story. It is the belief that good overcomes evil, healing overcomes illness, love is stronger than hate, kindness will defuse rudeness. For some, this past year hope is all they had. We are thankful for hope during these challenging times and are fortunate be a source of hope for those who are experiencing homelessness.
This year we are thankful for and humbled that we have our health. Too many people have died from this terrible virus. They are someone’s spouse, parent, child, relative, friend or work colleague. One cannot take their health for granted. The virus has also been a reminder of the importance of holistic health. It has wreaked havoc on those who have felt isolated and exacerbated many mental health issues. We are thankful for our physical, mental, and spiritual health, we pray for healing for those who are sick and for comfort for those who are grieving.
- FAMILY AND HOME
This is the most important thing for which I am thankful. I am the youngest child in a family of nine. I have seven sisters. Family has always been important to me. It is my place of origin and it is the place I belong. Our home growing up was on a farm. My dad ran his mom’s farm until she passed-away when I was eight. Some of my memories of our home when I was growing up was having the same place at the dinner table, sledding down the barn hill in winter, tagging along when my sisters went on dates, (I am pretty sure my parents sent me as the clueless chaperone.) playing basketball in the hay loft, all 11 of us piling into a station wagon to go to Church on Sunday. As an aside, the seating arrangements were: three kids in the “back or reverse seat” of the station wagon, four in the middle seat, one in the middle between my parents and I was always sitting on someone’s lap. There were no car seats or seatbelts back then.
Now, my home and family includes adult children coming and going, grandkids swimming in the pool, my dog Eliot and my daughter’s dog Randall barking and wrestling together, my son Andrew making up crazy songs with his niece and nephew singing them loudly and our eighteen month old grandson Iverson, “feeding” the dogs food from his tray and laughing hysterically.
It is the people and relationships that make our houses a home. Family is the basis of our society. Being homeless puts stress on families which in turn puts stress on our community. It is in the best interest of everyone to try to prevent family homelessness and to make it as short as possible for any family experiencing homelessness. Therefore, I am most thankful for my family and my home and feel honored to be working with Family Promise of Waukesha to support others in strengthening their family and homes.
Thank you for your belief in Family Promise of Waukesha County. Happy Thanksgiving!