Family Promise Celebrates First Anniversary with Fundraiser

Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County, a non-profit organization that provides homeless families with safe housing in local churches, celebrates its one-year anniversary with a Valentine Dessert Extravaganza, set for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at Brookstone Event Center, 14 Route 111 in Derry.

Betty Gay of Salem, publicist for the group, said that in addition to desserts, cheese and crackers and fruit round out the menu, along with teas, coffee and hot chocolate. Musicians will perform, and raffles and silent auctions will be held to raise money for Family Promise. Financial donations are welcome.

Prizes will be given for the prettiest hat, the most Victorian outfit, or the furthest traveled, she said. “Sign up to set a tea table and compete for the prettiest at $1 per vote,” Gay added. “Besides having a great time, everyone will be celebrating the first anniversary of Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County as it provides temporary housing for homeless families with children, while helping them find safe, permanent housing.”

To reserve a spot at the Valentine Dessert Extravaganza, call 432-0400 or email Vicki.vareschi@familypromiseGRC.org.

Reservations are required. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Family Promise serves Derry, Londonderry, Chester, Hampstead, Sandown, Atkinson, Auburn, Danville, Fremont, Kingston, Newton, Pelham, Plaistow, Raymond, Salem and Windham. No homeless shelter exists in any of those towns, although officials say the area has at least 158 homeless families.

Family Promise is part of a national organization, the Interfaith Hospitality Network. For one week at a time, on a rotating basis, the 11 local host congregations provide overnight lodging, meals and hospitality for three to five families from 5:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. The host congregations are staffed entirely by volunteers.

Support congregations, which cannot host families but want to help, provide financial support and/or volunteers. Congregations host families four to six times a year.

The organization also operates a Day Center in Derry where families go from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to shower, do laundry, care for their preschool children and work on seeking employment and housing. The families receive job skill education and training on nutrition, budgeting, and parenting. School-aged children attend their home schools.

Family Promise provides van transportation between the host congregation locations and the Day Center, and as needed for appointments. Vicki McKinney-Vareschi is the Day Center director.

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