Family Promise of Gallatin Valley is a non-profit network of diverse faith organizations working together to help Gallatin Valley's homeless families with children. St. James is pleased to have been the first Bozeman area church to commit our resources in support of this most vital program.
Family Promise maintains a very current website at www.familypromisegv.org/.
St. James hosts Family Promise guests five times a year. We house the families in the St. James Rectory. Families each have a bedroom and have access to the kitchen, laundry and yard. Our co-host parish is the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman. St. James staffs the Rectory four days of our hosting week and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman staffs the other three days.
During the day, families are at work, school or the Family Promise Day Center. They arrive at the Rectory each night at 5:30 p.m. and leave by 7:30 a.m. On Saturdays, families can stay at the Rectory until 10 a.m. if they choose. Families are to be in the Rectory by 10 p.m. each night unless previous arrangements have been made through Family Promise.
St. James provides milk, juice, bread, cereal, peanut butter, etc. for the guests to use. Evening meals are provided by parish members. The meals should be available at the Rectory by 5:30 p.m. Dinner should not be "fancy" and providers will be advised of the ages and allergies of the guests. Usually dinners are a main dish, one or two sides, and an easy dessert like cookies or ice cream. An easy salad or veggie tray is nice. If you wish, you can also remain as an evening host and enjoy your dinner with the guests.
Evening hosts arrive at 5:15 p.m. and stay at the Rectory until 8:30 p.m. Evening hosts set the table in the dining room, get the dinner ready to be served and then sit and eat with the guests. Sometimes the guests are "chatty" and want to talk, but often the parents are tired after working (or looking for work) and are focused on spending time with the kids. Flexibility is the key to being an evening host! After dinner the hosts will help the guests clear the table, clean the kitchen and start the dishwasher if appropriate. After dinner you are free to read, watch TV, knit, etc. If you want to interact with the families, again be flexible. The hosts are not baby sitters and the parents are not to leave children unattended.
Overnight hosts arrive at 8:30 p.m. and leave at 7:30 a.m. An individual room is assigned to the host and it can be locked. It is the responsibility of the overnight host to lock the front door at 10 p.m. unless other arrangements have been made. If a guest chooses to go outside to smoke after 10 p.m., it is his/her responsibility to have another guest let them in the door. Currently, St. James parish member Teresa Scheie acts as an overnight host every night.
In order to host you must attend the training that is provided by Family Promise. The training is approximately two hours, is usually held in the evening and often child care is available. If you take the training and determine that hosting is not something you want to do, that is OK, you are under no obligation. The training is very enlightening and informative.
Family Promise is a wonderful way to help families who are working to recover from homelessness. It is a way to make a difference right here in our community. I would be glad to chat with you regarding St. James's involvement in Family Promise or to facilitate a training session. If you would like to talk to other parish members, please feel free to chat with Deacon Roxanne or Ray Ross.