Our Family Shelter Program works because ordinary people take time out of their busy lives to provide help to families in crisis in our community. And right now we still have an urgent need for volunteer drivers and overnight hosts between December 27, 2011, and January 9, 2012, when Temple Beth Am will be hosting homeless families from Mary’s Place.
Last August, Lin-Marie Nacht, TBA congregant, public defender and mother of two very busy children, shuttled families back and forth, hosted our guests in the evening and overnight, washed all the sheets and blankets, and delivered them along with the beds to the next host congregation. She was motivated to help because she sees that emergency shelter is the hole in the safety net. “Through my work with juvenile offenders I see the huge impact the insecurity of not knowing where you are going to be sleeping makes on a kid’s behavior. I empathize with the moms; I can’t imagine getting around to all the different social services schlepping kids.” The highlight of her experience was when she brought the children to our shelter and saw their excitement as they walked through the door and ran to their friends in a familiar place; there was a real sense of belonging.
Lin-Marie is looking forward to volunteering in December at Temple Beth Am. She offers these words of encouragement to others: “At the beginning, you have this idea that it might be scary, but it’s not; it’s very comfortable. You get to show up and be yourself.”
We still need volunteers to drive families from Mary’s Place to TBA and to host overnight. We have online sign-ups so you can see what shifts are available during week 1 (December 27 – January 2) or week 2 (January 3 – 9). If you missed the volunteer orientation meeting, contact me and I will send you information and forms and set up a time to talk on the phone.