New Year Rings in Changes at IHNSC
IHN would like to welcome new staff, Kayla Ellis. Kayla has interned at IHN since September 2017 and recently graduated from Kean University with a degree in Sociology. Kayla will be the full time case manager and will be supporting clients in all programs. She will be assisting clients with financial counseling, life skills training and will coordinate all other daily client needs. Kayla’s eagerness to learn and previous experience in the IHN office makes her an excellent fit as she looks to start a career in special needs social work. Welcome Kayla!
For the past two and a half years, Kristana Hunter has provided clients with financial case management and so much more. Kristana has played an integral role into parenting and life skills training, as well as being an IHN volunteer at her congregation, St. Charles Borromeo. Often going above and beyond for clients and staff, Kristana has spent her time at IHN laying the foundation for long-term financial stability. IHN will be left with fond memories of Kristana’s caring demeanor and dedication to this vulnerable population. We wish Kristana and her family the best of luck as they embark on their new adventure to Colorado.
Volunteers Spread Holiday Cheer
Holidays can be an emotional time for IHN families. Many do not have extended families to celebrate with or the financial means to provide for these special occasions. From Halloween costumes to Thanksgiving baskets and holiday gifts, volunteers always ensure that our IHN families are able to celebrate the holidays without worrying about cost.
Over 20 Thanksgiving baskets were donated by the Temple Beth-El Religious School and Sisterhood for families in our Sunrise House, Phase 2 and Rapid Re-housing programs. Along with turkeys and roasting pans, families received all of the traditional fixings such as corn bread, cranberry sauce and stuffing. This year, a volunteer family from St. Elizabeth St. Brigid Parish in Peapack generously hosted an emergency shelter family in their home for Thanksgiving dinner.
For over ten years, the Hearts of Watchung have been donating Christmas gifts for all families in the IHN programs. The gifts were picked up and sorted by staff. Volunteers wrapped each and every gift to ensure that both children and adults had the opportunity to be surprised. Gifts were also donated by The Church of the Immaculate Conception and the United Way of Northern New Jersey Gifts of the Season, while Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church, St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church and St. Charles Borromeo generously made IHN recipients of their Giving Trees. Real Christmas trees were donated to families by Cherryville Farms and fresh wreaths were made special by the Garden Club of Somerset Hills. This year, over 20 families received Christmas gifts to help make their holiday season a little bit brighter. Several congregations, individuals and groups also contributed to IHNSC through generous giving.
We truly appreciate the time, money and generosity that goes into making the holidays special for our IHN families in need!
25 Years StrongWe celebrated our 25 years of serving homeless families at the IHN Anniversary Gala on October 26 at the Basking Ridge Country Club. Bill Jonat of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Branchburg Rotary, Temple Beth-El and Vollers Family Foundation were honored for their years of dedication to the IHN mission.
Reverend George Montanari of host congregation Middlebush Reformed Church presided over the event, which was filled with good food and great company as supporters joined together to celebrate this milestone. Silent Auction baskets, each with a specific theme, were generously donated by network congregations. The baskets were assembled by volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Somerville. An inspiring opening prayer was led by Msgr. Gregory E. S. Malovetz with closing remarks given by Leigh Freeman of Temple Beth- El.
Since 1992, over 360 families have sought emergency shelter though our host congregations with over half of those served being children. What started out as a vision to help the homeless has evolved into a full continuum of care that aims to address the unique needs of each individual that walks through our door.
We are sincerely grateful to all who have supported our mission over the last 25 years!
Families Thrive From Continued Support
It is the mission of Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County to empower homeless families to achieve and maintain independence. This is defined by leading a family without shelter or basic necessities to their own independent housing with skills and supports necessary to ensure self-sufficiency. This requires a cycle of specific services that encourages empowerment, models life skills and provides supports.
Dawn came into our emergency shelter in 2009 with her three-month old son after losing her only family supports, her grandparents. During her time in the shelter, Dawn was determined to make her homelessness a one-time experience. She saw value in case management and financial counseling and participated in any program that would advance her personal growth. Dawn attended a work readiness program, parenting classes and obtained her GED. She then obtained her CDL driver’s license and became employed as a bus driver. Dawn transitioned from our emergency shelter into Phase 2, which continued to provide Dawn’s family with case management support and basic needs. She has since become employed full-time by Somerset County and has purchased her own home for herself and her two sons.
With IHNSC’s Continuum of Care programs, Dawn was given the opportunities for ongoing support that has helped her maintain her independence. IHNSC is not a band-aid approach to homelessness. We are invested long-term so that families like Dawn’s are able to thrive.
Support Our Cause
Please help the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County give hope to homeless families in Somerset County. You can make a meaningful impact one family at a time.
Use this form to mail a tax-deductible donation to IHNSC. Or click the Donate button to make a donation securely online using your credit card. Thank you!