The Interfaith Hospitality Network kicked off the season of giving with “Picture the Family,” a fund-raising event that drew on every corner of the community to raise money for Essex County, New Jersey homeless.
“It doesn’t matter what background you come from,” said Stephanie, a benefactor of the churches and synagogues that provide shelter and funding for permanent housing and education. “Situations do happen that can set you back in life.”
More than 400 people attended the fundraising breakfast at Mayfair Farms. It raised thousands of dollars for the Interfaith Hospitality Network’s (IHN) ongoing services for the homeless, including “Home for Good,” a new program that will provide permanent homes to families after they leave the shelter program, said Merle Benny, president of the IHN board of trustees.
In Essex County, there are more than 1,200 volunteers from 64 participating congregations – including Saint Philomena’s Church in Livingston – who provide emergency shelter, beds, friendship and meals. The families also receive financial and emotional support, and child-care assistance. Keeping the families together is at the heart of its mission and provided a fitting theme for the Nov. 11 fundraiser, said Tia Aery, IHN’s executive director.
“In a world increasingly polarized by politics, religion, social status and income level, it is important to foster and uphold the cherished hopes that unite us: every family needs a place to call home; a home where we can share and laugh and make memories; a home where we can raise our children and nurture our loved ones in peace and safety,” Aery said.