St. Jerome and St. Maurice parishes have partnered with Family Promise to serve as a Host Congregation. During our assigned Host Weeks, there are approximately 50 slots for volunteers. Some congregations have a different member for each slot; others have volunteers take on multiple roles. Volunteers come from the host and support congregations and are assigned duties by the St. Jerome and St. Maurice Volunteer Coordinators.
Volunteers are needed in the following areas:
- Set-up and break-down of the cots and dividers on Sunday
- Cook and drop off meals
- Evening Hosts from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. (welcome guests, set up dining area, help serve dinner, eat with the families, interact through games, reading to children, helping with homework, talk, etc)
- Overnight Hosts from 8:30 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. (Two hosts are required: 1 male and 1 female; spend the night in the hall; wake up guests in the morning, help families with light breakfast, morning cleanup before the van picks up families at 7:00 a.m.)
- Laundry (laundering of our parish's sheets, linens, and blankets at the end of the week, or sooner, if necessary, NOT clothing
- Saturday Hosting at the Day Center at Cornelius Way in New Britain (3-4 hour shifts, between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Volunteers serving as hosts must have attended VIRTUS training, and will receive additional training from Family Promise. An opportunity for VIRTUS training will be available at St. Jerome prior to hosting our guest families.
Typical Host Week
- A Network truck or van arrives in the afternoon with cots and the families' personal belongings to be set up in designated space.
- Guest families arrive at the Host congregation Sunday evening. The rooms for the families and the common area have been set up prior to the arrival.
Each night of hosting:
- Families settle in, relax and meet the coordinators and the evening volunteers. At 6:00 p.m., dinner is served family style. Guests and volunteers share the meal together. Families are responsible for their children and help with clean up and chores.
- After dinner, volunteers fellowship with families. Hosts and families play games, help with homework, watch videos, or just talk.
- Food for lunch is available in the kitchen area and parents make sack lunches for their families for the following day.
- Adults turn in around 10:00 p.m.; children at appropriate earlier bedtimes. Wake up is around 6:00 a.m. Two volunteers will spend the night at the congregation.
- Breakfast is served around 6:30 a.m. during the week; typically cereal and other convenient foods. The Network van picks the families up at 7:00 a.m.
During the day:
- Families are not at the congregation. The driver takes the guests to the Day Center in New Britain. From there, children will go to school and the parents will go to their jobs. In the afternoon, the reverse is done.
- If the parents are unemployed, they work with the Director at the Day Center to seek employment, housing, and other resources to help them regain their independence. The Day Center has bathrooms with showers and other necesseties to prepare for the day.
- Everyone returns to the Host Congregation around 5:30 p.m. and the cycle repeats.
Saturday and Sunday:
- On Saturday, the families can sleep in and enjoy a hot breakfast (pancakes or bacon and eggs). Families go the Day Center and do what families typically do on weekends--see friends and relatives, take children to activities, etcetera.
- On Sunday, the families are packed up and out of the facilities prior to Sunday services. They are taken to the Day Center for the day until it is time to move on to the next congregation. Families that want to attend services will usually do so at their own congregations; some may choose to worship at the host congregation.
And the next host congregation begins its week.