Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, Family Promise Metrowest (FPM), a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families facing homelessness, is now hosting a Campaign for Hope instead of its 11th annual Walk to End Homelessness. The walk, which would have been held at Natick High School, raises funds to fight homelessness in MetroWest.
The funds are so needed in the area, according to Sue Crossley, Executive Director of FPM, because homelessness affects more people than folks think. One out of five people experiencing homelessness is a child. FPM’s mission is to transform the lives of families with children facing homelessness by mobilizing local communities to provide shelter, education, and comprehensive support. This event raises funds for programming that supports families on their path to sustainable employment and housing.
“Amidst all the fun and games, this event really matters,” said Crossley.. “It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year, bringing in over 25% of our annual program budget and significantly impacting the lives of the families we serve.”
The change from walk to campaign happened rather quickly based on the state of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Carole Brodrick, development director for FPM.
“The people being hit the most in this event are the low and moderate income people because they’re usually hourly workers. We had four families in a shelter, two of which two weeks ago were ready to move out. They had saved their money through first and last month’s rent They were ready to go. And then they lost their jobs — were laid off. The case managers are working with a lot of families right now because they’re hourly workers and they’ve been laid off and they don’t know how they’re going to pay the rent, let alone put food on the the table for their family,” said Brodrick, explaining why they chose to start a campaign.
She said the walk normally brings in about $150,000. So far they’ve just surpassed $60,000. To meet their goal as well as to pay for the other services they’ve had to provide because of social distancing and gathering restrictions, they need to not only hit that hundred and $150,000 mark, but surpass it
“But now we need even a little bit more because our families we’ve moved into a hotel because we’re supposed to not be congregating more than ten people at a time. And we wanted to make sure that our volunteers were in good shape and could do social distancing for themselves and their families. But we also wanted to get that benefit to our families. Usually our volunteers prepare all the meals for the families, but we want them to make their own food so they know how it’s being prepared and know where it’s coming from. So that’s all an extra expense we did not budget for,” Brodrick said.
Brodrick praised all of the community and corporate partners for the event and continued support despite the changes.
“We’re so appreciative of all the corporate sponsors that we had to the event and the community partners have been fantastic,” she said.
The local businesses and sponsors include: WROR Radio, R.W. Holmes Commercial Real Estate, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham, Needham Bank, Commonwealth Financial, Eastern Bank, The Village Bank, and MapleMama Beverages.
With 50 local congregations, 3000 volunteers, and support from the community, Family Promise Metrowest is making a difference in addressing the issue of family homelessness. By providing resources and encouragement and addressing barriers, families bring themselves out of homelessness and into a life where they can sustain themselves and their children. For more information, visit www.familypromisemetrowest.org.
The Campaign for Hope will run the entire month of April. Follow FPM on Facebook for updates: @familypromsemetrowest.
“Every donation makes a difference and it directly impacts these families,” she said.