Monday, August 17, 2015

Volunteers - Family Promise at TWUMC

Founded in 2001, Family Promise of Montgomery County is a faith-based non-profit organization that supports families who are experiencing homelessness as they search for new jobs, undergo job training, and obtain permanent housing.   It is affiliated with the national organization founded in 1986. 

The Woodlands United Methodist Church is one of many “Host Church’s” who provide program participants and their families a place to sleep, eat and socialize with others in a safe and secure environment while they are in a transitional “homeless” state.  TWUMC will host families at the church for one week each quarter.   Other community churches do the same so that the needs are met year round.   The families can utilize this program for up to 90 days, while they get back on their feet and obtain their own housing.

Mike Smith is the coordinator for TWUMC Family Promise week of hosting.  He organizes over 75 volunteers who will cover such tasks as setting up, serving meals, provide transportation to kids for school, spending the night as “hosts” and talking with, encouraging, and spending time with the participants, and even doing the linens laundry at the end of the week. 

 In Mike’s words:

I started with Family Promise about 8 1/2 years ago.  A group of men from Quest (church men’s group) were interested in finding local missions work that our church could support or create. The Loft was just opening at the time so it provided new spaces that could be used for Family Promise.  The church decided to join and I agreed to coordinate the ministry for our church.  We recruited volunteers and hosted our first week on the 4th of July weekend in 2007.

In addition to following Christ’s direction to serve others, we hope that our witness will strengthen the faith of the families or bring them to Christ.  

The most rewarding thing to me is seeing families gain confidence, become hopeful, mature, and become independent.  One of the first moms we hosted was an eighth grade dropout who had been into drugs in her youth.  The ministry helped her get secretarial training and she got a good job.  She worked hard and was dedicated to her children.  After she graduated she was invited to be on the Board of Directors of Family Promise and served for a couple of years.  Another recent graduate and her two children entered the program with no car, no job, and only the clothes on their backs.  She worked two jobs while at the church and the family is now self-supporting in a three bedroom apartment with furniture and a car from Family Promise.

This ministry has made me more aware of and appreciative of my blessings.  

I so admire Mike and his willingness to give his time and talents to coordinate such an important ministry.  But, it couldn’t happen without those that are willing to give their time as volunteers during the host week… whether it be a few hours of their time to serve a meal or to volunteer to help by driving the kids to school. 

Theresa Duff was an “overnight host” during a recent Family Promise week.  In her words:

When I started out with Family Promise no one (women) in particular ever wanted to spend the night. I always thought gosh how hard is that? It still seems to be one of the harder positions to fill and to me it's one of the easiest ways to serve! You get to meet really neat folks and share a little time with them and then night, night. It's my chance to give and help out. The kids can be really fun! On one of the holidays I stayed up with some of the teens playing Old Maid till midnight and we laughed and laughed.

Now, doesn’t that sound like fun??

For more information about Family Promise in Montgomery County visit their website at: or check your local area.

For more information about this and all the other ways to get involved through serving with The Woodlands UMC, visit:

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