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Winter Shelter

Family Promise of Lawrence, Kansas, gears up to give safe shelter to homeless families with children. Here's how you can help.

With temperatures starting to drop, many of our neighbors need a safe, warm place to spend the night. Family Promise of Lawrence (FPL) is partnering with the City of Lawrence to house families with children when the temperature drops below 35 degrees. In previous years, families stayed with the general population of homeless citizens.

Since FPL isn’t currently operating its rotation program, it will use its expertise to host these families at a static site and bring in volunteers. Ninth Street Baptist Church will serve as the primary site, with Plymouth Church providing overflow space when needed.

You can make a difference

in a child’s life just by showing up!

What am I getting myself into?

Volunteers will report to 9th Street Baptist Church (901 Tennessee) by 7 p.m. on their assigned night. And don’t worry – you won’t be responsible for providing, setting up, or cleaning up a meal. Just provide extravagant hospitality! We need two to three adult volunteers per night. Guests will leave the church by 7 a.m. the following morning. Then, after a bit of light clean-up, you’re good to go. And, keep in mind that, even though you sign up for a specific night, you might not be called upon if the weather stays mild.

If you’re not able to spend the night, you have other options! Please consider signing up to provide prepackaged snacks or wash the bedding after families leave.

How is this program different from a typical Family Promise rotation?

The City of Lawrence sets all guidelines for the winter shelter. Before coming to the church, families will register with the City and then go to the shelter site (likely the Community Building on 11th Street). Staffers will screen families when they check-in at the Community Building. They’ll be assessed for unsafe behaviors, including visible intoxication or problematic family dynamics, which would make for an unsafe shelter environment. Adult guests will be required to be fully vaccinated. Stringent COVID protocols will be in place, too. We hope some of these families will join one of Family Promise’s programs after experiencing its hospitality and services.

Volunteers will come from across Family Promise’s network, which is a bit different from our standard rotation model. What a great way to meet new people!

Check out FPL’s new volunteer training.

Whether you’re new to Family Promise or a seasoned volunteer, we encourage you to complete its new, 2-part online training. Both modules will take about 90 minutes total. You’ll learn more about Family Promise and its services, volunteer do’s and don’ts, and the role of trauma and trauma-informed care when working with these guests.

Questions? Contact Mary Kaczor, Plymouth member and FPL board president.


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