Editor’s note: Summitview partners with a handful of churches in Fort Collins as a host site for Faith Family Hospitality. For three weeks out of the year, we host four homeless families in our building, providing them with meals and a safe place to sleep. Our most recent rotation was July 22-28. One of our members, Melissa Kraus, helped out with the rotation and wrote the following account of her time with the FFH families.
By Melissa Kraus
July 22-28 marked Summitview’s second week this year of hosting homeless families as part of the Faith Family Hospitality (FFH) program. Four families stayed at our church that week, all led by single parents. We gave them room and board each for the whole week.
I had offered to help the evening of Friday, July 27. I mentor an 8 year-old girl from our church, Delaney, and thought that this would be a great opportunity to introduce her to an important part of the Christian life: serving others.
Our job was to help with the dinner cleanup. As Delaney and I arrived at Summitview, the D-Team I was serving with had already cooked a nice meal and was waiting for the families to come into the Gathering Place to eat. I noticed that as the families came in for dinner, two of the families seemed very comfortable with the FFH system and were chatting amongst themselves.
But there were two other families led by single women who seemed to keep to themselves a little more. After everyone had been served their meal, Delaney and I grabbed our dinner and sat at the same table as one of the women. The other mother was sitting at the table next to us. I introduced myself to both of them. They were fairly new to FFH, having only been in the program for less than two weeks. As I talked with them, I discovered that both of these women had fled tough situations at home with their children in tow. They were both from other states.
Guessing that there may be some unmet needs, I asked if they had enough clothing for their children. One of the mothers had explained that because of the situation she had been in, she had to flee from her home with only two outfits per child. She had many children with her and was pregnant with one more. The other gal had two children. I took down a list of their clothing needs.
My mother works at the Vineyard Church in their Resource Center, which provides clothing, toiletries, and food to the needy in our community. Early the next week, my mom and I gathered as many items as we could from the Resource Center. We were able to find multiple outfits for every child on the list as well as winter coats. A few days later, I delivered the items to the families at the next church in the FFH rotation where they were staying. The mothers were overwhelmed with gratitude, and their children were excited to have new clothes.
While this was my second time helping out with the FFH program, this was my first time interacting with the families. Seeing first hand the struggles these families were facing, I had a wonderful first impression of FFH and the true needs that were being met through this program. I am really excited to help out the next time Summitview hosts families for FFH. Perhaps I will be able to connect with the same women, or perhaps there will be new families to love.