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3 reasons I support Families Moving Forward
August 4, 2015

By Joy DeHarpporte | My husband John and I have worked twice a year to support families through the Families Moving Forward program.  Both my church - Prospect Park United Methodist – and my husband’s church -St. Frances Cabrini Catholic – were among those responding to a call for hosting volunteers put out by University Lutheran Church of Hope a few years back.

That was the FIRST good feeling we had about this program. The Lutherans, the Methodists and the Catholics were coming together to support homeless families. FMF lets the power of our faith traditions flow to those in need of stable housing.

             The SECOND good thing we found out about this program is that it is well organized. We liked the clear expectations for us when the guests arrive by bus at Hope in the evening. And families are supported with help at the day center for job seeking, parenting and finance literacy classes.

             When we ate supper with the guests, we heard their stories. This was the THIRD good thing about the program - connecting with the guests. 

  • One woman told me, “I lost everything I had in a hurricane.” 
  • One evening as we were leaving a nearby park after playing there, a child said to me, “I suppose those people still at the park will sleep there tonight.” 
  • Another parent said, “FMF has been such a blessing to me when I had nowhere to turn with my kids.”

For those three reasons, we support Families Moving Forward with our financial contributions in addition to our time as volunteers. Our connection inspires us to share from our resources as well as our hearts.

I wrote this poem after one evening with FMF families.

move forward
in this program,
and find a home-
not in a church basement.

Twice a year
we help them.
This time it’s
three adults, five kids
and one new bundle
of eight days.

These kids have learned
to be loud to be heard.
They bang the piano,
yell, and do not often
take turns speaking.

Except Richard and Rodney*
who take turns,
speak politely,
and eat too much.

We eat together,
take the kids
across the street 
to the church
that gives us the key
to their gym
for running and play.

When it’s time to leave
one girl does not want to go.
She cries, throws herself
on the floor, pounds her fists,
and will not stop,
Even though 
(or maybe because)
she is going back to the church
across the street
that is her home
for one week.
        -Joy DeHarpporte

*Names changed


Joy DeHarpporte
Joy is a retired elementary teacher and dedicated Families Moving Forward volunteer and supporter.