Letter From A Guest
The day that I walked through the doors at Interfaith is one that I’ll never forget. The situation that led me to come face-to-face with homelessness was very traumatic for my girls and me. It was one of those desperate moments in which you want to depend on the love and security of your family to see you through the hard times. But my girls and I didn’t have that family. All we had was each other and a temporary shelter called “Interfaith Hospitality.”
I was told that this program might be a help to a family in a situation such as ours. We were out of options. Being able to enter the Interfaith program was the only certainty that we had at the time. It wasn’t going to be easy, though. We would have to live with strangers and sleep in churches we’d never seen. We would stay in them a mere seven days; just as we got used to them, it would be time to be uprooted again as we moved to a new church. In the beginning, it was a wild mix of emotions all at one time….the scariness of the unknown and the loss of control, swirled with gratitude for having a nice warm place to stay and not having to sleep on the street.
These were the feelings I experienced walking in the door, but what I felt walking out was unimaginable! The program that once gave me great pause was not at all what my mind had made it out to be. Yes, we moved from church to church, but when we entered, we were met by warm-hearted volunteers that were eager to help and make my family feel comfortable in many different ways. The home-cooked meals always seemed to be made with love and sometimes served with a story of its being the volunteer’s favorite dish; once or twice, it even came with a recipe so we could make it ourselves when we finally had a place of our own. Interfaith wasn’t just a program filled with strangers, but with volunteers who were willing to do everything they could to make the place where we were at that very moment feel like home.
The experience I had outside of the churches is one that will remain in my heart as well. The program is set up to help struggling families prepare themselves for their future as they help them identify the pitfalls and weak points that may have contributed to the current circumstance of homelessness. Mapping out a path for success, the program helped us examine the skills that we have and how to use them to achieve a job or career with financial stability. One-on-one time with a financial planner was invaluable in working with credit issues and money management. Parenting classes opened my eyes to different ways to curtail my children’s less desirable behaviors, while at the same time rewarding their desirable ones.
I walked into the Interfaith program scared and apprehensive. I walked out the doors feeling like the whole experience was a true gift. We will never forget the people that we met, the kindness and the hope we were shown, and the support system we had while in the program. I didn’t know that first day that I was walking into a family…an unconventional family, but the love, warmth, and hospitality we experienced was exactly the same!
With great love & thanks,
Jamie & Family
Letter From a Guest
I was a guest at Interfaith Hospitality. I was down and out, in between jobs, and very depressed. Miss Patty and Miss Kerry got me motivated to get my life together. It wasn`t easy, but I had faith in myself to do what I had to do.
I got a wonderful job with benefits and a pension. Jimmy helped me with my credit score and it has gone up 100 points. I have been approved for many different things.
My children are doing great in school because they have learned a lot from this program. I have four daughters ages 13, 11, 7 and 5. There were some rough patches during our stay, but we got through it as a family. I assured them that everything would be okay in the end. Now my thirteen year old is very independent. My eleven year old is in a high school math class. My seven year old has started to get the extra help she needed. My five year old just started kindergarten. We attend church every Sunday now.
So what I`m saying is that we have gained a normal, stable life from being in the Interfaith Hospitality program. It offers self-esteem classes and parenting classes; you really can`t ask for more! The volunteers are amazing and so thoughtful. They bend over backwards for the guests. They help the kids with homework and give us parents advice when needed. The Interfaith program has changed my life. It has pointed me in the right direction to achieve all of my goals.
Heather & Family
Letter From a Guest
I was once part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Ocean County program. There is so much to say about this program because they have helped my family and I in ways that were beyond my imagination and I’m so very blessed and thankful for all of their blessings that I have received. I was first introduced to this program through the Board of Social Services when I moved back to New Jersey from North Carolina and no place to live. There were times where my family and I had lived from house to house sleeping on floors and couches and at one point we even spent a few nights sleeping in our car. This felt like one of the lowest points in my life and at that very moment was when I knew it was time to seek some stability. One morning, we went to the Ocean County Board of Social Services and sat there all day until we finally were seen and referred to Interfaith Hospitality Network. The next day I met with Ms. Patty and Ms. Kerry which felt like one of the most devastated times of my life. I was not sure that this was the program for me or if I wanted to dedicate my life living from shelter to shelter, but they were so reassuring that my struggle would be over and that they would do their best to help me in the most possible way that they could and they were absolutely right. While in the program they have helped me get back into school, get a new place, helped my husband find a new job, taught us how to budget our finances, helped us financially, emotionally, and physically and also helped us to maintain our stability. After leaving the program my life has changed for the better. I am currently still attending school and will be graduating this August a Surgical Technician I manage money better, my husband was given a promotion at the same job that he has had since the program, I moved into a bigger house with a yard for my kids to play in and I now have stability. Thanks to Interfaith my life has taken a turn from the worst to the best and I owe it all to the great support team that were and still behind me. I know that God has placed these open hearted, generous, and loving people in my life to serve a purpose for the well-being for my family and many other families out there and they have done their good deeds and so much more.
Thank you and God Bless,
The Powell-Smith Family
Letter From a Guest
Interfaith Hospitality is a great network. I thank our heavenly Father every day that there’s a network like Interfaith because I don’t know what would have happened to me and my daughter without it. When I came into the program, I was lost on how to make things work. I was trying so hard to be a good mother. As a single mom, I was really scared when we became homeless. I had a job, but not enough income to find a place to live with my child that was safe for us both. I was living paycheck to paycheck, just scraping by. I went to find help, but at every turn I was told I didn’t qualify.
Finally, I got the chance to experience the Interfaith program. It was truly amazing. I learned so much and met so many great people who gave up their time to help my family with food, a place to sleep, and a shoulder to cry on. I thank every single volunteer that came into our lives with an open heart to share our struggles.
I am now back on track, in school full-time, and I have a support system I didn’t have before. I’ve made great friends. I’ve learned that being organized is very important to make my family happy and keep things together. I will never forget what I’ve learned, especially this quote: DO IT AFRAID. I am going to do everything, even if I am afraid, because life will always be better afterwards.
Again, I say thank you to all who helped us and gave us hope. Interfaith, keep up the good work! You’ve made a big difference in our lives. The benefits of this program will beneficially affect the generations yet to come.
Lisa & Family