October Newsletter 2016

 Successful Annual Homeless for a Night

By Ted Kostek, Board Secretary
On the night of Saturday, Sept 17th, 33 supporters of Family Promise of Skagit Valley were homeless for one night.  We held vigil by sleeping in our cars to remember that many people in our community do not have safety and security in their lives.  Many of those people are children.  We held our event at His Place church in Burlington.
Late in the afternoon, it rained.  However, by early evening the rain stopped and the clouds broke up a bit.  We got a full rainbow.  It's rare to see the full arc.  There's even a faint second rainbow visible in this picture.  I didn't notice it at the time.

In the early evening a disheveled man with a backpack came to our event.  He said he was homeless and really hungry and would we give him some food.  We gave him pizza and pop.  He went away happier than he came.

Here's where I slept.  About 3 am I woke up because I was cold.  I wondered whether I should have worn a hat to bed.  As I considered whether or not to start my engine to get some warmth, I heard someone else start theirs.  I was not the only one who was cold.

Here's a pic of the parking lot in the morning about 7am or so.  We actually counted about 33 cars, but this pic doesn't show them all.  Some were gone, some just can't be seen.    However, the two big passenger vans are from Salem Lutheran Church who brought members of their youth group.

Here are some folks early in the morning about 6:30 or so. We're having coffee and donuts.   As we talked, a man came over to get coffee and donuts for himself and his wife.  I didn't recognize him or his car from the night before.  One of the other committee members told me they arrived in the middle of the night.  The need in the Skagit Valley is real.  People are struggling.

Thanks to everyone who provided support and encouragement.   At this time, we have received $37,238 in donations with additional pledges yet to be received.

Playground Construction

Bethlehem Lutheran Church members and staff, Family Promise staff, and program guests chipped in to break ground on a new playground project.  Bethlehem Lutheran provided funds from their 2015 annual auction to fund a playground at the Family Promise Day Center.  The sod was cleared and prepared for the new playground last weekend.  Additional funds from the 2016 auction (see following article) will help to complete the playground for families of both Bethlehem Lutheran and Family Promise.

Come Support the New Playground

Proceeds from this year's auction will be divided between Phase 2 of the Playground for Family Promise, Helping Hands Food Bank Building Project, Ministry support at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Concrete, and to El Camino de Emaus (a worshipping community in Burlington that ministers among the Latino community in Skagit County).  For the past 30 years, it's always been a fun event that raises awareness and financial support for many worthwhile projects and ministries.  All friends of Family Promise are invited and encouraged to attend.  There is no cost to attend!

Adult Mental Health First Aid Certification

Eight volunteers and staff attended Adult Mental Health First Aid training on September 22nd.  The training was provided by Compass Health and the funding came from a generous grant from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation.  The training focused on understanding mental health problems in order to identify and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders.  Staff and volunteers chose to attend the training to better respond to guests that struggle with a mental illness.  According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 26% of adults living in shelters live with serious mental illness.  According to Tony Latham, the Director of Family Promise, more training on mental illness will be available to Family Promise volunteers in early 2017.

ADA Bathroom Begins
JM Construction began demolition at the Day Center in September for an ADA bathroom and laundry room.  The project should be completed by mid-October.  This new addition to the Day Center will also have a much needed washer and dryer for use by the guests.  Guests at this time are given funds to do their laundry at the local laundromat which adds time and complexity to the laundry process.  CPI Plumbing is donating labor and parts for the new shower room.  Grants from the Norcliffe Foundation, the Windermere Foundation, ELCA World Hunger Relief, Thrivent Financial and funds from Bethlehem Lutheran Church have helped to make this addition possible.  The guests are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the completed room.