[KHTS] – Family Promise is gearing up for Box City, its annual fundraising that’s looking to raise awareness and help for those in the Santa Clarita Valley who are struggling with homelessness.
In August, Family Promise of the Santa Clarita Valley, a network of volunteers serving local homeless families, reached its 100th child served recently
Family Promise focuses on serving families with at least one child under the age of 18.
“We have what we call campers, and they stay overnight in a box at beautiful Bridgeport Park,” said Gary Choppe, who’s the vice president of Family Promise’s board and the event’s chair.
“They do this to raise awareness and funds for the homeless families of Santa Clarita — that’s what Family Promise is all about.”
Family Promise also operates a Day Center in the Santa Clarita Valley, where families can do laundry, shower and search for employment while their children are at school.
At night, the families are sent to host churches and places of worship throughout the valley, where they receive meals, support from volunteers and a place to sleep.
Family Promise currently has about 14 congregations that provide overnight services on a rotating basis, said Executive Director Chris Najarro.
“A big thank you goes out to everyone who has helped host, helped prepare meals and donated financially to keep our kids off the streets,” said Laurie Ender, Family Promise SCV president.
Family Promise started in the Santa Clarita Valley in June 2011, and their ability to serve so many families in two years is due to the support of community volunteers and host congregations, Najarro said.
Family Promise addresses each family’s needs individually, understanding that every situation is unique.
“We really believe that each family has their specific needs,” Najarro said, “and we tailor our case management program…, because we know there can’t be one way to serve every family.”
The goal is to give families the tools to succeed.
“Our goal is to help each family we work with achieve independence and success and get back on their feet again,” Ender said.
There are a number of ways to get involved with Family Promise.
Their fourth annual Box City fundraising event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28. Members of the community are asked to raise money by pledging to spend the night in Bridgeport Park with only a sleeping bag and cardboard box for shelter. There have been as many as 400 “Box City residents” in the past.
Participants can enjoy live music and prize giveaways. Dinner and breakfast will be served.
“It’s for people who have a heart for the homeless and want to do something about it,” Choppe said. “We recognize we have this issue in the Santa Clarita Valley, and that’s why we do this event.”
For more information about this and other ways to volunteer, click here or call 661-251-2867.