Pickens County Family
UUFC Participation and How You Can Help!
What is Family Promise? Family Promise is a nationally recognized model of church and community-based collaboration, that provides transitional shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Host and support congregations work collaboratively to provide year round shelter, meals and a loving presence.
At Pickens County Family Promise Center in Easley, Director Armilla Moore and Case Manager JoAnn Brink work daily with “guest families,” coordinating a variety of social services to help them move towards independence and stable housing. These families have been screened and oriented prior to program acceptance. The overnight housing at churches accommodates up to four families at one time, but often there are only one, two or three families in attendance.
For the past two years, UUFC has been participating as a “support congregation” partnering with Ft. Hill Presbyterian Church in Clemson. We continue to have a small pool of UUFC volunteer-hosts who are called upon three to four times per year, Monday and Tuesday evenings each time. There are 3 shifts, and two volunteers are required per shift. You only need to take one shift on one of the two nights.
Our next turn to be on duty at Ft. Hill in 2017 is:
What is expected in your role as a Support Church volunteer?
Shift #1: 5:15 pm - 7:00 pm: Pre-dinner set-up, greet guests as they arrive at 5:30, eat dinner with the families, and clean up afterwards. Sometimes help parents pack luncheon items or snacks to carry to the Center for the next day. (Sometimes this is done during the next shift.)
Shift #2: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: After dinner activity or relaxation family time: You might initiate and partake in a board or card game, watch a video movie with teens, help children with a homework assignment. There might be “babysitting” a few minutes, while a parent takes a shower. Sometimes there is not much to do for volunteers during this shift except to “be there,” since families have an option to just go to their rooms.
Shift #3: 9:00 pm - 7 am. The two volunteers who stay overnight have a room with twin-bed cots provided (but bring your own pillow & sheets). Most of this shift you are sleeping, as are the families in their own respective rooms. 9:30 -10:00 pm is the “quiet in room” time for the guest families, and most want to get to sleep then or soon thereafter, since wake-up is at 5 a.m-ish. The sleep-over volunteers also make sure families are up, set up coffee, put out fast-easy breakfast as needed, see the families off when their van ride comes at 5:45 or 6 am, take out garbage and do a fast clean-up check of kitchen and common family areas.
Fort Hill Presbyterian has a “Gentle Reminders” sheet for the guests and for us to review. We have at hand a list of important phone numbers if needed, and a First Aid Kit kept in the kitchen. This is a worthwhile program and can be rewarding way to volunteer, without it being a “heavy duty” time commitment. As a potential new volunteer, you may arrange a quick orientation in advance, or just come one time, one shift (1st or 2nd) to "test the waters,” as you help two more experienced hosts on duty. All shifts require flexibility and kindness, as well as good common sense. We are not expected to “parent” the children, but at times, for “reinforcement." IF you are interested in helping, but not in this direct manner, you can also cook or provide part of a dinner meal.
To learn more and/or volunteer, please contact Heidi Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 864-653-0143.