Saturday, July 20, 2024

Hometown Heros: Family Promise

An interfaith Delray nonprofit gives hope to struggling families in their time of need.

In the same way it takes a village to raise a child, a local organization believes that sometimes it takes a community to rescue a family.

Hidden behind St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Delray Beach is the headquarters of Family Promise, an interfaith charity that provides shelter, food, necessities and life skills for homeless families in our area. To serve those in need, the organization relies on some 1,100 volunteers representing more than 20 host and supporting congregations in Boca and Delray—from Advent Lutheran to St. Paul’s Episcopal to Temple Beth El.

“Our goal is to keep our families together,” says Kokie Dinnan, executive director of Family Promise, which launched locally in 2008 (the national organization began in 1988). “In a time of crisis, they need one another more than ever.”

Most shelters separate men and women, but Family Promise’s unique program keeps families intact by calling on hosting congregations (churches and synagogues with enough room and staffing) to house the families. Congregations alternate to provide families with private rooms and meals for a weeklong stretch; no more than four guest families are in the program at a time. The location change is a minor inconvenience for those receiving everything from transportation to school to access to a Day Center facility (with computers and phones) to strategy sessions for becoming self-sufficient.

“We strive to give our families life skills that, in some cases, were never even introduced,” Dinnan says. “We offer parenting classes. We have financial advisers that come in and do budgeting with our families…”

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