Homeless Sabbath December 16-18
Everyone Needs a Place to Call Home
Leslie and three of her children, ages 6, 9, and 13, moved into their own apartment in Elizabeth in September of 2016 and now have a place to call home.
Prior to moving into her own apartment, Leslie lived in Family Promise’s shelter in Elizabeth for about three months. She also has five children who are grown and living on their own.
Leslie’s family’s stay at the Family Promise shelter was not the first time that they had experienced homelessness. In the recent past, they had lived in other apartments in Elizabeth and Perth Amboy, experienced other periods of homelessness and lived in a hotel for four months due to domestic violence and losing their apartment after Superstorm Sandy.
When asked about what she and her children liked best about living in their own apartment again, Leslie responded, “We are able to sit down as a family for dinner, able to make decisions together as a family, and we have a place to call home!”
Family Promise works with the mission to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through community-based response. Family Promise of Union County (FPUC) is one of more than 200 Affiliates nationwide serving children and their families.
Leadership from Family Promise of Union County are part group of caring people from non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations that also includes – Community Access Unlimited, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, HomeFirst, Monarch Housing and the Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council – are organizing a multi-faith “call to action” on the first annual Homeless Sabbath Weekend December 16-18, 2016, on behalf of all people who are homeless in Union County who need a place to call home.
Leslie’s children say that the one of the hardest decisions the family had to make when they were homeless and living in the shelter is that they had to decide to give up their dog Dozer, a Boston Terrier.
We had to give up our Boston Terrier Dozer. He had been their pet and part of their family for almost nine years and giving him up was one of the saddest things for them about moving to the shelter but they knew it was best and had to be done.
Leslie has experience working in hospice care but recently due to a disability, has not been able to because due to her reliance on a defibrillator and a pacemaker.
She would like to work outside of the home because she has trouble making ends meet relying solely on disability payments. On the morning we spoke, she was heading to an interview with Amazon.
We ask you to help us by including prayers and readings in your service(s) held on December 16th, 17th and 18th, 2016, at your respective house of worship. On this weekend, we will collectively pray for all homeless people and for the commitment to end homelessness in our community.
The momentum for the Homeless Sabbath is growing.
On November 12, 2016, Townley Presbyterian Church in Union held a Jazz Vespers worship service. There was a full house in attendance and Elder Cynthia Manno, a member of the Homeless Sabbath planning committee, planned this wonderful event. The event set a wonderful tone for the Homeless Sabbath weekend.
This is longest night of the year and has been chosen as a time to remember all homeless people who died in the past year because of their lack of shelter or care.
A variety of resources are available to assist with planning a Homeless Sabbath in your congregation.
- Talking points about homelessness
- Universal prayers and diverse faith-based materials regarding homelessness
- Information on the “Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil” December 21, 2016 7 PM, Holy Cross Lutheran Church 639 Mountain Ave. Springfield, NJ.
- Sample Bulletin Insert, and
- Homeless resources in Union County
For further information:
- Contact us via email
- Or call Claire at 908-272-5363 x 234 to let us know if you will be participating.
- Follow or join the conversation on social media use this hashtag: #HomelessSabbathNJ
- Follow or join the conversation on social media use this hashtag: #HomelessSabbathN
As many of you prepare for the upcoming holiday celebrations in your home and congregation, please remember the many individuals, families and children who do not have a home for the holidays or throughout the year. Please give them a voice, hear them, help them.
Join the conversation on twitter.