Bay View UMC is a “Support Church” for the Family Promise affiliate program here in the Skagit Valley. As a support church, we partner with other congregations to provide overnight accommodations and meals for homeless families during four weeks each year. We are very excited to be a part of the Family Promise program, which is making a huge difference for families in our valley that are experiencing homelessness.
Specifically, this means that we partner with another congregation (currently, we work with North Cascades Seventh Day Adventist) to provide meals and accommodations for up to 14 guests (usually about 4 familes) for one week at a time, roughly four times each year. During our week of service, our congregation takes 2 days where we cook dinner, serve dinner, spend time with the families, make ourselves available if they have any needs, provide two “overnight hosts” who are available for emergencies, and then set out supplies for making breakfast and sack lunches.
During the day, families will travel by van to the Day Center, where they work with a social worker to find and utilize resources for securing housing for their family. School-aged children go to school, while their parents go to work or work with the social worker on resumes, job applications, job training, etc.
If you would like to volunteer to help with Family Promise, please contact us.
Why is this program needed?
It may be hard for most of us to believe, but at any moment, there are around 1000 children in the Skagit Valley who are experiencing homelessness. The mission of Family Promise is to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence. The program seeks to help families get back on their feet, securing employment, housing, and stability. Family Promise is a response by the faith community to the problem of family homelessness in Skagit County.
The program has thirteen Skagit Valley congregations that partner as “Host Congregations” to provide overnight accommodations and meals for one week at at time for 3-4 families. This provides the families with a safe, warm place to eat and sleep while not requiring any faith community to provide all of the housing themselves.
Family Promise is a nationwide network of more than 180 of these local affiliate programs across 41 states. The program is proven to help more than 80% of its clients secure housing.
You can learn more about Family Promise here.
You can learn more about the Skagit Valley program, and how to get involved, here.