Unanticipated Friendships Through Family Promise

Family Promise of Whatcom County“Sometimes I hear from volunteers that Family Promise is a lot of work,” says Cari Griffith, a volunteer who serves on the Leadership Team for Interfaith Coalition’s Family Promise of Whatcom County. “Yes, it takes work and money to help people who are in messy situations.”

Family Promise involves 850 local volunteers and 30 faith communities in Whatcom County that feed and shelter local families in need, using church buildings throughout the county. Because it relies on existing resources, Family Promise is able to leverage every $1 donated into $3 worth of services for folks experiencing homelessness.

Family Promise is fully supported by local donations and local volunteers. More important, Family Promise builds a personal connection between neighbors in need, and neighbors with resources. That’s more effective than government services.

“With Family Promise, we get personally involved, and eliminate the need for some of those tax dollars,” Cari points out.

Sometimes volunteers don’t see the impact of a two-hour shift, four times a year, Cari says. “But in your two hours of service, our guests can make a friend.

“Last week, one of our guests who’d graduated from Family Promise attended church with me. We took her daughter to the room where the children were gathering for children’s church.

“The daughter entered hesitantly, then bounded back to us, announcing ‘I have a friend here! You can go now!’

“The friend was a volunteer she’d met during our church’s Family Promise hosting week.

“What we volunteers see as two hours of service, our guests see as making a friend.”