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Emmanuel United Church takes lead to help local homeless

Feb. 6, 2013

Spare change leads to big changes in a grassroots program that helps those facing a housing crisis.

Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Dousman is taking the lead in a project to provide temporary housing for homeless children and their families by the end of the year and has stepped forward to become one of four founding churches in the effort to start an affiliate in western Waukesha County of a national program called Family Promise.

In addition, the church has made the program the beneficiary of a special offering.

For the past three months, parishioners of the church have been collecting their spare change to help found the project and raised $1,109.73. Family Promise of Western Waukesha County is nonprofit with 501c3 status.

"We can do so much good with something that just puts a little hole in our pockets," she said.

The program

In the Family Promise model, homeless families are hosted from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. by local congregations that provide dinner, sleeping quarters and breakfast. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the families go to a specific facility that serves as a center for the program, from which children are taken to school and parents receive job, budget and life training from skilled social workers that will help them to create a better future.

Family Promise is a nationwide shelter initiative which has been in existence for more than 20 years and has affiliates in 41 states.

"There are these types of family shelters in New Hope and Madison, but not one in western Waukesha County. People think of Waukesha County as being a very wealthy place which has no homeless problem but that's just not true," said Hawkins.

Working with data from the school districts in Western Waukesha County, as of June 2012, there were more than 100 homeless persons in families with children.

Moving forward

"We want it open for homeless families by December 2013; another nine congregations opening their hearts and their doors to them will make it happen," Hawkins said.

To make the dream a reality, in addition to nine more host congregations, the organization is looking for 20 support congregations to provide financial and volunteer help, a 15-passenger van, a 3,000-square-foot facility to serve as the Family Center and a volunteer coordinator.

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/familypromisewwc/ or call Sue Konkel at (262) 490-0868.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Spring Seedling Sale & Greenhouse Open House: 10 a.m. May 23, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. A variety of organic veggie and herb seedlings to plant in your home or community garden this spring will be for sale. All plant sale profits will benefit the Giving Garden initiative.

Memorial Honor Celebration: 8 a.m. May 23, Wisconsin Harley-Davidson, 1280 Blue Ribbon Drive, Oconomowoc. Daylong event begins with reveille and breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by color guard and the national anthem. The event also includes military and veterans organizations, interactive displays and vehicles, food and beverages and entertainment. Evening showing of “Honor Flight: One Last Mission.” on a big, outdoor screen.

"Small Space Container Gardens" Seminar: 11 a.m. May 23, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, W1795 Fox Road, Ixonia. Free educational seminar by gardening expert Melinda Myers. Melinda, who will also be available to answer gardening questions. Enter to win a $500 Ebert’s shopping spree with Melinda.

Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. May 23, Lapham Peak State Park, W329 N846, Delafield. Children and their families will hike with a guide and a representative of the Delafield Library will share books, songs and a craft to enhance the experience. Meet at the Lapham Peak Tower. State park sticker is required.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings

 

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