Families Moving ForwardWhat is Families Moving Forward?
Westwood is welcoming families with children who are temporarily without shelter to our church building. During four weeks of the year, we will be transforming our Confirmation Learning Center with beds, dressers, alarm clocks and all the trappings of home. Each evening up to 16 guests, all families with children, will arrive. Our guests will only be here at night.
What happens during the day?
Around 7:30 each morning, our guests are bused to St. Andrews Episcopal in Minneapolis where the Families Moving Forward Day Shelter is housed. From that base, adults with jobs go to work, others spend the day looking for work and for housing and school aged children are bused to school. Each family is assisted in setting goals, and are required to make at least three contacts for housing each week. In fact, 80 percent successfully find safe, affordable housing within 30 days!
What will be happening at Westwood?
Around 5:30 pm each day, the guest families are bused here for the night. Our volunteers will greet our guests, prepare and serve dinner and help families prepare lunch for the following day. Volunteers will spend the night in the church with our families. More volunteers will serve breakfast. We will be a host congregation during four different weeks throughout the year.
Why are we doing this?
Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with ... and your neighbor as yourself." Wouldn't you want to be afforded temporary housing in a critical situation? We are responding to God's calling to love our neighbor, and offering the gift of service. We are so blessed with this fine facility, and will be sharing what God has first given us. We are saying "Here we are Lord, let us help."
What can I do to help?
Beyond what you see above, many volunteers are needed to help move the beds to Westwood each time, donate food and money, serve as a cook or overnight host, etc., the needs are great. This is a hands-on ministry for all of us. You can contact the church office at 952-545-5623 or watch for more information in upcoming publications. Kevin Haley and Margo Chesley are coordinating this ministry. Please remember this ministry in your prayers.
How is all this being funded?
One thing we can all do is make sure we keep supporting Westwood financially. We can take on this huge and important ministry only because we have such a wonderful facility. You can also donate food or money directly to this effort. This is a new endeavor for us, and your solid support is crucial. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that through this, we are acting as the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching out to our neighbors with God's love and compassion.
A typical week with Families Moving Forward
For a week, from a Sunday afternoon thru the next Sunday morning, our Westwood family will host 3 – 4 families experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Many volunteers are needed to provide sleeping quarters, three meals a day, fellowship, and support for our guests as Westwood becomes their home for seven days.
|Set-Up of each family’s bedroom||10|
|Early morning hosts to prepare and serve breakfast||7|
|Evening hosts, to provide an evening of fellowship for families||21-28|
|Providers of breakfast and lunch items and extra food items||23|
|Evening meal preparers and Servers—3 per night||21|
|Dishwasher—1 per night||7|
|Overnight hosts—2 per night||14|
|Laundry—1 per day for 6 Days and 7-8 for end of week||15|
For more information about Families Moving Forward, click here.
With 150 volunteers needed to assure the safety, comfort, and support of our guest families, Westwood continues its mission within our walls to worship, serve, invite, connect, give and grow. Volunteer sign-up will be held on Sundays starting two weeks in advance. May our prayers be answered as families successfully find stability and security in employment and affordable housing.