Family Promise has as its mission to help families with children in homeless situations return quickly to permanent housing while addressing the root causes of their homelessness.
First Pres Wilmette serves as a Family Promise rotational shelter, providing housing for families with children several weeks each year. While here, volunteers from our congregation and partnering congregations provide meals, fellowship, and sleeping areas for families from our local Family Promise affiliate.
Prospective and new volunteers have questions about Family Promise and what volunteering entails. Some commonly asked questions appear below, with answers from one of our site coordinators. Call or email the church office with a question you do not see answered here or wish to discuss in greater detail.
If I volunteer to make and serve dinner, what time do I need to be here and ready to serve? We usually serve dinner at about 6:30 pm. You may arrive as early as you wish to; a site coordinator or church staff will provide you with access to the kitchen.
Can I cook the dinner at the church? Yes! You may cook here or cook at home and reheat here as you prefer. A site coordinator will provide a brief church kitchen orientation and help you find suitable serving pieces. We serve dinners buffet-style.
By what time can I expect to have finished serving and cleaning up? Most volunteers have finished by 7:30 pm.
What should I cook? What more do I need to prepare? When a volunteer signs up, they suggest what they’d like to cook. The site coordinator will review the week and make adjustments so that the families have variety in their dinners during their stay with us. Each dinner consists of a main dish, a vegetable or salad, sliced fruit, and dessert. We accommodate those with special dietary preferences or restrictions and know in advance when a guest needs these accommodations. Volunteers may order the dinner they serve from a restaurant or caterer if they prefer.
Do we provide snacks for later in the evening or the next day? Yes, but the church provides the snacks, not the dinner volunteers. We always have apples or tangerines, packages of chips and cookies, and other snack options available.
How do guests pass the time between dinner and sleep? Some families prefer to spend the evening together in their sleeping room. Others play games and chat with one another in the Wallace Moore Fellowship Center. Children may play outside in the Fellowship Garden and playground when accompanied by an adult.
Where do guests sleep? We use a variety of rooms on the second floor of the church and the Nursery depending on the sizes of the families joining us. In summer, we use rooms with air conditioning.
What time do overnight volunteers arrive and where do they sleep? They arrive at 8:00 pm and usually sleep in the Church Lounge using linens or a sleeping bag that they bring from home.
What happens in the morning? The overnight volunteers help the families gather snacks for the day and sometimes have a quick breakfast, provided by the church, here. Afterward, families go to the Family Promise day center where they shower and dress for the day and then go to work or school.
How do the families get to and from our church? Some families have their own vehicle but most ride in a Family Promise van that travels between the Family Promise day center and local affiliates such as out church.
What do volunteers do when a problem arises at the church or for a family or family member? Volunteers always have support from the site coordinators who remain connected to Family Promise staff throughout the week. Volunteers do not need to solve problems for guests, only inform a site coordinator that a concern exists.