Caring for patients and their loved ones at the end of life is a great privilege and growth experience. Heartland Hospice is seeking volunteers to serve in that capacity locally. They offer excellent training, and the ministry can be as simple as reading a book to the patient or providing respite to the family members who are the primary care givers. Anyone who would like more information about this very special and rewarding ministry may call Rosann Kureczko at 856-251-0707. There is also a flyer about this on the community bulletin board.
As part of Holy Trinity’s outreach ministry, we partner with the Kitchen of Hope (KOH) Pantry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Glassboro, NJ. KOH is an outreach of love and compassion, providing free food, school supplies and winter coats, hats and gloves for needy families. Members of Holy Trinity bring in non-perishable foods for distribution at the Kitchen of Hope. Many members volunteer their time to help with the set-up of the food for distribution; un-packing the food from the Food Bank of South Jersey when it is delivered; packing the bags of groceries for distribution and helping with the distribution of the food. The pantry’s food giveaway is usually the 4th Saturday of each month.
KOH came into existence as food insecurity among the elderly, children and working poor in Gloucester County became a greater problem. About 66% of the recipients are children, 10 % are elderly, and 3% are homeless. All of the adults have incomes below the national poverty level. Many of the households using the Kitchen of Hope subsist on Supplemental Social Security (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD), the federal food stamp program (SNAP), Aid to Women, Children and Infants (WIC), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or low paying jobs. All of the guests are below the poverty level.
This ministry is a very rewarding experience for Holy Trinity’s members who volunteer. Everyone who participates in this ministry leaves the pantry feeling uplifted because they were able to help a family in need.
Holy Trinity has decided to increase our Outreach commitment with Family Promise – Interfaith Hospitality Network of Gloucester County (a national program that aides homeless families in need of housing) by volunteering to be a host site for their overnight sheltering program. Our members had volunteered in the past to help out with meals and other assistance, but always at other host sites. Last fall, the program sent out an emergency request for a host site to fill in for a week. After some discussion and thoughtful consideration, the Vestry decided to test the waters and offer our facility as a host site on a trial basis. In December we decided to commit to the program as a regular host site. This entails allowing the program to use our facility four times a year as well as providing the volunteer labor and meals required during this week long commitment. For those who are curious how the sheltering program works, a synopsis from the Family Promise website follows.
“Each weekday begins with the guests arriving at the Family Center at 6:00 a.m. The early hour allows children in the Network to continue in their “home” school district. Transportation for school may be as early as 7:00 a.m. so everyone needs to be at the Family Center. Meanwhile, other guests complete their daily living activities such as showers, breakfast, pack lunch and dress for work or school.
During the day, the guests work on their Stability Plan. When adult guests enter the Network, they are required to identify goals that need to be met in order to obtain permanent housing and stability. Guests are then required to identify weekly objectives that need to be met in order to achieve the overall goals. Guests are also required to complete a financial log to document their financial situation.
Around 6:00 p.m., the guests depart from the Family Center. Volunteers from the host congregation assist in transporting them, using the IHN van, from the Family Center to their evening/overnight site. Some guests, however, return directly to the congregation. Dinnertime is set at the discretion of the volunteers. While staying with the host congregation, guests are expected to adhere to the congregational guidelines that are determined by the volunteers. These, along with important information, fire exit information, and a chore chart (if implemented), are posted in a common area.
Morning arrives and guests rise and prepare for departure from the congregation. Again, volunteers assist in transporting them to the Family Center. This schedule repeats itself seven days per week, with the exception of Saturday morning. Some congregations allow guests to sleep until 8:30am and return to the Family Center at 9:00am. Family Center coverage is available at the Family Center as of 9:00am. This coverage extends until 5:00pm on Saturdays.
On Sunday, the host congregations switch. Now the guests begin a new week, spending the evenings and overnights at a new host congregation and returning to the Family Center each day.”
As you can see, there is a lot of opportunity to help out this worthwhile endeavor. Besides providing our facility, we need volunteers who can help out with transportation, meals, evening activities and most importantly, serve as overnight hosts. For more information please speak with Fr. Zelley, any Vestry member or visit the Family Promise website.