Notes from the Director
“Lions, and tigers and bears –oh, my…”
There are cute midnight fairies and scary grim reapers at the Tim and Mary Barnard Family Day Center as kids get ready for Halloween. Carved pumpkins are outside by the porch, leaves are blowing, and fall has settled in. The air is chilly but inside our fireplace is glowing and hearts are warm.
Halloween reminds me how scary it is for families when they first walk in our door. Many times all they have to their name are a couple garbage bags full of clothes. They are uncertain and fearful, and often Family Promise is their last resort. They picture a typical shelter with rows of cots and scary people, and instead find their own family room with roll-away beds with handmade quilts, other families similar to them, and friendly volunteers ready to help in any way possible.
By the time families are ready to leave (usually 60 – 90 days), Family Promise has become home. They know people truly care about them, and they feel connected to something larger than themselves. Adults are proud of their accomplishments getting and keeping a job, saving money for an apartment, and meeting their children’s many needs. They have worked hard, but know they are not alone in their struggle. We receive donations of beds, couches, kitchen items and everything else necessary to make a home. When our guests leave we help them to furnish their new apartment, and get them off to a good start. That’s just one of the reasons why Family Promise of Gallatin Valley doesn’t just “shelter” people; we work hard to give them skills to become self-sufficient, but in a warm context of caring.
We recently received a letter from a family that stayed at Family Promise and is now doing well in their own home. This is what the dad wrote: “We showed up here with nothing and Family Promise gave us everything. I think about the entire program everyday with only good thoughts. The families we were with, the volunteers and staff were all a godsend. We will always love all of you.”
Now that’s not scary at all!