Faith Family Hospitality
Foothills Hosts Week: December 24 – December 31 and March 25 – April 1
Faith Family Hospitality (FFH) is an interfaith ministry to families experiencing homelessness in northern Colorado. FFH congregations provide overnight shelter, meals, and hospitality 365 days a year to an average of 14.4 children and adults. FFH also offers case management, a family day center, and transitional housing. Founded in 2012, there are currently 30 member congregations in Fort Collins – 15 (including Foothills Unitarian Church) serve as host sites and 15 as partners.
Foothills Unitarian Church, in partnership with Congregation Har Shalom, hosts four families for a week four times a year. Families arrive on Sunday night and are our overnight guests from about 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the next morning, each day through following Sunday morning when they move to the next congregation. During the day, families have access to the FFH Day Center at 300 Oak Street.
It takes about 40 volunteers each time we host. Two families work together to prepare each night’s dinner, evening hosts assist families, overnight hosts actually sleep at the church and serve a continental breakfast to families in the morning. In addition we need help from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday to set up and make beds and from 6-8 a.m. on the last Sunday to take everything down and return rooms to the ready for RE classes. Children are always welcome to participate with their parents!
About a month before we host we will open a SignUp Genius site and publicize the link in the Communicator and Order of Service – sign up early if you want to do dinner! Emails are sent directly from the site to those on our email list. If you’d like to add your families name to the list or have questions contact: Sue Ferguson email@example.com.
The Faith Family Hospitality Day Center (open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) is also in need of volunteers – if you can help sign up now http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0549a9ab28a31-daycenter.
For more information on Faith Family Hospitality click HERE
One Village One Family
One Village One Family Program (OVOF) was developed by a community organization, Homeless Gear, to empower families to regain stability, secure permanent housing, and achieve self-sufficiency. Foothills Unitarian Church has been in partnership with the OVOF Program since May 2015. Between June 2015 and December 2016, Foothills Unitarian Church members have formed seven “villages”, and those villages have mentored seven adults and 24 children into stable and secure housing. Our villages each support a family for at least 6 months, offering assistance in budgeting, accessing community resources, and moral support – often their greatest need.
Foothills Unitarian Church’s partnership with OVOF and Homeless Gear also extend to the following agencies: Mathews House, Faith Family Hospitality, The Family Center (La Familia), the Fort Collins Housing Authority, Catholic Charities, the Poudre School District McKinney Vento Program, Project Self-Sufficiency, and Neighbor to Neighbor.
How can you help support the Foothills–OVOF partnership?
- Make a cash donation to the Foothills OVOF fund — Each Village (groups of 4-6 people) must raise $1500 each so that they can help support the family by contributing to the first month’s rent and the security deposit. That amounts to $7500 for our five families. These monies are always paid directly to the landlord, never to the family.
- Offer your expert services to families — It is not uncommon that families are in need of tires, car repairs, legal services, counseling, etc. If you have skills that you are willing to share them (at no or reduced costs) with our families, please contact Elizabeth Sink (Elizabeth.Sink@Colostate.edu).
- Be prepared to donate furniture, kitchenware, and other household items — Such donations must be made on a “when needed basis” (Foothills has no place to store them). Again, if you have things that you would be willing to donate, please contact Elizabeth Sink (Elizabeth.Sink@Colostate.edu).
- Consider making a rental property that you might own available to OVOF families — We all are aware of the low vacancy rate for rental properties in Fort Collins, and the lack of properties becomes even more acute when we consider affordable two or three bedroom rental units at or below $1000.
Where can you find more information about the OVOF program?
The best place to learn more about the OVOF program is the Homeless Gear website. Choose the Programs tab and select One Village One Family or go to http://homelessgear.org/ovof/.
Mobile Food Bank
Foothills Unitarian Church hosts a mobile food pantry program in partnership with the Larimer County Food Bank to distribute groceries donated from local groceries and food stories to those in need. Begun as a pilot project in 2016, the church location provides a secondary site for people in need to come and get a week’s plus worth of food. Many of those who come to this location do not have transportation or the ability to get to the Food Bank on the far north side of town. This site provides another opportunity for outreach to residents of Larimer County.
Foothills provides support with volunteer staff to operate a mobile food pantry in a new location for distributing healthy foods to our friends and neighbors who struggle to feed their families. This pantry is close to many neighborhoods and schools where reduced and free lunch are highly used, but families have difficulty accessing the Food Bank on the other side of town. The pantry operates twice a month, and is open for 2 hours. A week’s worth of groceries is available including meat, fruits and vegetables, and breads.
As you might imagine, IT TAKES MANY HANDS TO MAKE THIS GREAT WORK POSSIBLE! We welcome volunteers aged 10+ to work independently (ages 6+ usually possible working alongside parent/guardian) for a variety of food distribution duties! If you are not sure this will be a fit for you or your family, please feel free to drop by on one of the dates below between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. to see how the Food Bank operates. With a signed liability waiver form, you can even start working right away! Please do review the general guidelines below before signing up or before coming for an informal “check us out” visit so that you know the basics of where to park, what to bring (or not bring), what to wear, etc.
We are grateful to Rebecca Parish for agreeing to be the site lead for the Foothills UU mobile pantry team. And very appreciative of the incredible efforts of the staff of the Food Bank for Larimer County. We are thankful for a wonderful group of dedicated volunteer coordinators* willing to take the lead on individual Sunday food banks (once or twice a quarter) and be back-ups in case a coordinator has a last minute illness or emergency. We’d love to have a few more coordinators on our team! If you’re interested in helping or for more information, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documents & Forms:
- Foodbank@Foothills General Guidelines – Please review this document before you sign-up to volunteer.
- Food Bank Volunteer Waiver Form – This completed form is required before you can volunteer.
- Mobile Food Pantry Policies & Procedures – Food Bank for Larimer County documentation
- Mobile Food Pantry Safety – Please review the Food Bank’s safety policies.
- Volunteers in Need – Food Bank volunteers who may be food insecure can receive food as well!
- Food Bank Volunteer Job Descriptions – Not sure which job you’d like to sign up for? Learn more about them!
- Summer Backpack Program
- Foodbank@Foothills Coordinators: Set Up/Tear Down Checklists for Regular Church Hours (Summer Hours version)
- F@F Volunteer Sign-in Log
- Diagram of F@F Mobile Pantry Typical Set Up
*Current Foodbank @ Foothills Team Coordinators: Rebecca & Mike Parish, Pedro Linsenmeyer, Cheryl Hazlitt, Susan Kitchens, Nancy Reaume, Tom Rhodes, Carri Ratazzi, Cindy Monell, Donna Boudreau, April Undy and Courtney Butnor. Would YOU like to join our team?