Trinity is a Host Congregation for Interfaith Hospitality Network.
As a host congregation, we open our building to provide a safe, hospitable shelter for the families in the Family Promise/IHN program for a week at a time, three or four times a year. We are one of 14 host congregations in the Grand Rapids area that, together on a rotating schedule, house homeless families throughout the year. Each congregation has a small army of volunteers who turn classrooms into comfortable bedrooms, act as evening hosts, sleep overnight, play with the kids, provide evening meals, do laundry, drive a truck, turn bedrooms back into Sunday School classrooms, and more.
And the program has a great success rate: 93 percent of the families served last year found permanent housing. Furthermore, 91 percent of the families placed in 2009 have remained independently housed for one year or more!
During the day, families come to a “home base” which is the Family Promise Day Center located on South Division Street in Grand Rapids, where they are busy every day taking care of family business. Through the use of the computer center, case managers and mentors, parents are able to search for employment and housing and, ultimately, achieve their goals of independence. But until that happens, it cannot be overstated how much a clean bed, hot food and smiling hosts go to helping the families through their tough times.
IHN is very important to the mission and ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church.
When you think about it, this may be the most important way we as a church can all live out our faith by reaching out to hurting persons in our community. This is about more than just writing a check or shopping for specific items to donate to a charity. It’s about giving of ourselves; gifting others with our time; helping by our physical presence.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do something everyday that makes you a little uncomfortable.” What better place to step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons than within the walls of your church!
What kinds of volunteer opportunities are available?
- What do you enjoy doing? There is something for everyone! Plus, you can volunteer as an individual, as a couple, as a family!
- What do you enjoy doing? There is something for everyone!
Plus, you can volunteer as an individual, as a couple, as a family!
Volunteer Opportunities Include:Evening Host
Primary responsibility: Be a friendly and welcoming presence at Trinity
Time commitment: One evening, 4:45 to 8:30 pm. This is a newly created role that enables several of our caring members to host our IHN families on a specific evening. If you enjoy hosting gatherings for family or friends at your home, consider this as a potential fit for your gift of hospitality!
Primary responsibility: Have fun with the IHN children games, basketball, playground, crafts, etc.
Time commitment: One evening, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Primary responsibility: Sleep! Families will know that they can come to you if issues arise during the night
Time commitment: One night, 8:30 pm to 7 am
Primary responsibility: transforming classrooms into comfortable and inviting bedrooms
Time commitment: Sunday morning of arrival, 11 am
Primary responsibility: Provide a complete evening meal (or partial meal with another volunteer)
Time commitment: One evening, dinner served 6 pm
Primary responsibility: Transform IHN bedrooms back to classrooms in time for Sunday School
Time commitment: Final Sunday morning, 7:45 am
Questions? Contact Sylvia Stouten, 616.949.2492, ext. 21.