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'Afternoon Tea, A Gift of Love' This Saturday

Support the local chapter of “Family Promise” to help homeless families once more find employment and their own dwelling place.

By Betty Gay

Your presence is requested Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Pre-Valentine’s Day “Afternoon Tea, A Gift of Love.”

Bring someone you love for a delightful afternoon and support the local chapter of “Family Promise” to help homeless families once more find employment and their own dwelling place.

The location is , 171 Zion Hill Road, Salem, just beyond North Salem Elementary School.

Seatings will be at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.; donations from the heart in lieu of tickets.

You can bring a favorite teacup and saucer in a pretty tea towel to share the family history of your teacup. We will have plenty of teacups for everyone else.

Savor delectable homemade pastries, fruit and cheese.

Enjoy live music by talented high school musicians from Windham and Pinkerton. Optional: Pretty hats and long dresses.

Reservations are recommended but not required. Leave a message at Triumphant Cross for Ann at 603-893-0305 and your call will be returned.

If you or your friends would like to help with this event, call 603-818-1614.

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Here is the story about "Family Promise."

Family Promise is a national non-profit organization that provides safe housing and basic needs for homeless families with children.  Founded 24 years ago in New Jersey, now Family Promise has over 171 chapters in 41 states.  In nearby Portsmouth a Family Promise has been serving families successfully for a few years. 

For the past year, the new local chapter, Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County has been working to create a local Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) to serve Salem, Derry, and twelve surrounding towns.

It costs over $100,000 to get a Family Promise IHN started.  Each network must provide a day center where laid-off parents get help searching for work.  Each IHN needs a large van to transport families to the day center.  The van also takes the children to their own schools to restore stability to their young, uprooted lives.

Each IHN is a network of ten to thirteen worshipping congregations that take turns providing overnight stays and food for a week at a time, in the congregation’s buildings.  Congregational volunteers provide both meals and positive interaction with guest families in the evening.  Leaders in this new Rockingham County chapter who have visited other IHN’s say that you cannot tell the difference between the congregational volunteers from the adults in the program as they bustle about serving supper and breakfast and cleaning up.

So far, only six local congregations have committed to hosting this new IH Network: Calvary Bible Church of Derry, Triumphant Cross Lutheran in Salem, St. Christopher’s Episcopal in Hampstead, Chester Congregational Baptist in Chester, St. David’s Episcopal in Salem, and Journey Church in Derry.  Rockingham Christian Church in Salem will be a support congregation. providing volunteers and meals to assist another congregation.

The homeless families in our area often are invisible, but there are at least 155 homeless families in these fourteen communities.  Forty percent are families with children, the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, nationwide and in New Hampshire. 

No shelters or transitional housing for families exist in our area. Section 8 housing (with rent set by income) for families exists only in Derry and has a three-year waiting list.  There is no Section 8 for families in Salem, only for elderly and disabled, and it does not exist in the other twelve towns.  Sadly, homeless parents are often afraid to ask for help because they fear that the state will take their children away from them.

So bring someone special for a lovely Saturday afternoon treat to lighten a cold afternoon and warm the hearts of so many families.  And if you or your organization would like to help with this community-wide delightful event of compassion, please call Betty Gay at 603-818-1614.

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