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Faith in Action: Helping Homeless Families

"We got much more out of this than we put in. We were so moved by the women's faith and outlook on life when we sat down and spoke to them." - IHN Volunteer

Helping Homeless Families at Christ Church

Christ Church welcomes United Ministries Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) to our campus. This partnership provides temporary housing to families while they work to find jobs and permanent housing. IHN will be at Christ Church August 20 - 27 and November 12 - 19. If you would like to learn how you can be a part of this incredible ministry, contact Debbie Rice, 282.3108.

 

IHN (United Ministries Interfaith Hospitality Network) is a ministry that provides families who are homeless with a network of support and a safe place to live as they rebuild their lives. IHN works with over 50 local congregations, including Christ Church, to host these families in their parishes for a week at a time.

Christ Church hosts up to three families at a time in the All Saints Center from a Sunday afternoon to the following Sunday morning. During this time, the families are cared for by parishioners who volunteer their time to welcome and feed our guests, help any children with their homework, and stay overnight. Each day, the families leave the All Saints Center to work with the IHN staff on how they can secure jobs and move into permanent housing.

In 2016, the IHN community welcomed 85 families comprised of 110 adults and 216 children (326 total individuals). Forty-five families found permanent housing during their sojourn with IHN.

Here's a video where a former IHN participant shares her experience from staying at Christ Church with her family:

 

Read an article from the Spring 2014 Messenger about IHN.

 

Did you know it takes over 75 volunteers during IHN to make it run smoothly for our guest families? Here are a few of the volunteer opportunities available during IHN:

Dinner Hosts: A great way for small groups and Sunday School classes to get involved! Round up some friends or other parishioners and work together to bring a meal for our guests one night to the All Saints Center. Dinner hosts unload the dishwasher, set the tables, serve the food or create a buffet, offer a blessing, be available to have dinner with the guests, return food and dishes to the kitchen, run the dishwasher, and unplug appliances in room 200. Plan to arrive by 5:30 PM and stay until 7:45 PM.

Evening Hosts: Welcome guests at 5:00 PM and stay until 8:00 PM. Eat dinner with guests and visit with the families during the evening (arrange the homework table, play games with the kids or help with homework). Evening hosts will stay until the overnight host arrives.

Overnight Hosts
: There must be one male and one female or a couple on premises at all times. Overnight hosts arrive by 7:45 PM and bring their own towels and bedding - a pillow, sheets and blanket or sleeping bag. Encourage families to be in their rooms by 9:30 PM and wake families up by 6:00 AM. Put out lunch supplies in the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, set out breakfast, and start coffee. Families will leave by 7:00 AM (9:00 AM on Saturdays), at which time the host may also leave. Children are welcome to come spend the night with their parents!

Set-Up: Set-up occurs at 12:15 PM on the Sunday that our guests arrive. This is a perfect family volunteer opportunity, especially for those with younger children. We make the beds and set up the rooms in the All Saints Center to welcome our IHN families. This takes about one hour.

Clean-Up and Breakdown: Breakdown occurs at 7:00 AM on the Sunday that our guests leave. This usually takes an hour to an hour and a half.

Special skills are not required - your caring presence is enough! Your training will consist of attending a Safeguarding Godís People training and shadowing a seasoned volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the form below or contact Debbie Rice, 282.3108.