Family Promise

  Family Promise  
Contact:  Ginny Brown (262-363-4716)

        "This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."    I John 3:16 - 18  NIV

Mark your calendar

Host Week: March 10th-17th, 2019

To sign up to host in March: Please click here!
  To sign up to donate food or prepared foods in March:  Please click here!


As a hands-on outreach ministry, Reformation is serving as a HOST congregation for Family Promise of Waukesha County.

What is Family Promise of

Waukesha County?

FPOWC, a 501(c) (3) local non-profit organization is an affiliate of FamilyPromise, a national organization. Family Promise offers a collaborative community effort, linking resources, cost-effective accommodations, meals and support services to local families experiencing homelessness while assisting them to achieve and sustain independence.

Reformation’s Family Promise Outreach Ministry

Since 2012, Reformation's members have supported and participated in Family Promise of Waukesha County. As a host congregation, we have the opportunity to provide lodging, meals, and caring hospitality for up to 4 homeless families (14 people) for one week at a time, four times a year.

Our guests arrive in time to share the evening meal with us. Children participate in activities and do homework while the adults interact with members and prepare for the next day. The Family Promise van arrives early in the morning to take guests to the Family Promise Day Center in Wales that has shower facilities. Children are transported to their home school, employed adults go to work, and other adults and young children stay at the Day Center. Paid and volunteer staff assist guests with job and housing searches, and provide other needed resources for parents to regain and retain independence for their family.

More than fifty volunteers from Reformation and our support church, Highview Presbyterian, joyfully serve families in our area for one week, four times a year. Since 2015, an average of 20 families have been served each year by our Waukesha County affiliate of Family Promise.

It is gratifying to see so many members of Reformation united in a purpose to show our love for Christ by providing basic needs to our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Meals are prepared and served, evening fellowship is provided, volunteers sleep overnight and set out a quick breakfast, guest rooms are set up and taken down, all supplies and food products are donated and monitored, and many other tasks are done allowing our guests to experience a safe and caring home.
Key to the success of this program is our affiliate, Family Promise of Waukesha County ( It is our affiliate, one of more than 200 across the country, that provides the coordination of community and affiliate services (van and driver, case manager, cots, day center, guest screening…) that transforms the work of the individual congregations into a comprehensive program that guides homeless families with children into independent living. David Tennyck is the Executive Director of FPOWC.

Our members made generous donations to FPOWC to help open its doors in November, 2014, when we were privileged to be the county’s first host congregation. Ongoing support is needed to keep our affiliate open. To help achieve this goal,  we host a sprig Rummage Sale to benefit FPOWC. At that time shoppers have an opportunity to learn more about this community based organization as well as the worship, education, and fellowship opportunities at Reformation.

All members and their children are invited and encouraged to become involved with this hands on outreach ministry. Host volunteers are required to attend a training session before having any interactions with guests.

For more information please contact Reformation’s FP Volunteer Coordinators,
Ginny Brown, 262-363-4716 and Sheri Helwig, 262-370-2903

Six Key Components of every  Family Promise Affiliate


1. Host and Support

Families rotate weekly among 13 host congregations in a Family Promise Affiliate Program. Supporting congregations help to provide volunteers, supplies, food and


2. Family Promise Day Center

Families use the center from 8am to 5pm. Parents pursue employment, search for affordable housing, care for their young children, shower and do laundry. The center provides parents with an address for housing and employment contacts. Many guests are employed and children attend their home school.

3. Transportation

Our affiliate van transports families to and from the Family Day Center.

4. Social Service Agencies

Local social service agencies refer families to the affiliate. The Family Promise Executive Director and a professional case manager provide case management services and work with other local agencies to help guests find housing, needed jobs and benefits.

5. Funding

Affiliate funding comes from grants, fundraising events and donations.

6. Volunteers

Volunteers ARE the heart of the program! They share their prayers, love, time, and talents.  We may do this for a few hours each of the weeks we host 4 times a year or serve regularly at the day center.



Family Promise – National

Opened 1986, 11 congregations ~~~~~ 2013: 200 Affiliates in 41 states

With more than 6,000 congregations and 160,000 volunteers


History of Family Promise

It's simply astounding to see what happens when compassionate volunteers work together to help their neighbors in need.  Over and over again, I see how families become empowered, and communities are transformed.

                                                                                    Karen Olson, Founder & President, Family Promise


In 1981, Karen Olson was a marketing executive who developed promotional campaigns for consumer products. One morning, on her way to a meeting, she saw a homeless woman, someone she'd seen over and over again on her way to work.  She decided to buy a sandwich for the woman. The stranger accepted the sandwich but asked for something else - a moment to be heard, to be comforted, and to be considered as more than a mere statistic on a cold street corner.


Soon, Karen and her two young sons began frequent trips to  New York to hand out sandwiches to the homeless. As she came to know some of the city's homeless people, she began to understand the profound loss and disconnection that homelessness causes. That understanding turned into an

enduring commitment.

The First Interfaith Hospitality Network


Olson learned that there were hundreds of homeless people, including families, in her home community of Union County, New Jersey.  She turned to the religious community for help, convinced that there were many who shared her concern and that together they could do what they couldn't do alone. Within ten months, eleven area congregations came forward to provide hospitality space within their buildings. The local YMCA agreed to provide showers and a day center for families. A car dealer discounted a van.

On October 27, 1986, the first Interfaith Hospitality Network opened its doors.  

As word spread, ten more congregations formed a second Network. Programs for transitional housing, childcare, and family mentoring followed - outgrowths of increased awareness and involvement.

The Network Goes National

The success of the first Networks led other congregations to seek help in developing similar programs. In 1988, National Interfaith Hospitality Network was formed to bring the program to other areas where neighbors could work together to help homeless families.

To date, Family Promise has established over 200 affiliates in 41 states, using the services of more 
than 160,000 volunteers and 6,000 congregations.  They provide shelter, meals, and housing and job placement support to more than 49,000 homeless family members annually, 60 percent of them children.


Witnessing firsthand the obstacles that low-income families face, Family Promise leaders and volunteers have been motivated to do more. Affiliates have seized the initiative to create additional community programs, such as housing renovation, job training, and healthcare programs.

As a way of helping at-risk families avoid homelessness, Family Promise began training volunteers to advise and mentor families, helping them achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.


To foster a greater understanding of the root causes of homelessness, Family Promise launched the Just Neighbors  educational curriculum.


In 2003, the organization changed its name to Family Promise  to reflect a broader range of programs and reaffirm its core commitment to helping families realize their own potential.


And although 41 states and 160,000 volunteers now define the breadth and depth of the organization, Karen's mandate remains in place...if you can strengthen one family you can strengthen a nation.

For more information or to volunteer at Reformation, contact our coordinators:


Ginny Brown, 262-363-4716 and Sheri Helwig, 262-370-2903