All posts by Friendship House
WHAT FH MEANS TO ROXANE
Roxane, our Director of Operations, has worked for Friendship House for 25 years. Roxane shares what FH means to her. “Friendship House is a community welcoming to all. It is a safe place for folks to go and be treated with love and respect. I walked through these doors over 25 years ago, homeless and houseless, scared and alone and this safe place saved my life as it has for so many others. We continue to treat folks with the same grace, compassion, and acceptance that was given to me. Friendship House is a place I call home.”
WHAT FH MEANS TO CHARISSE
Charisse has been on our Board of Directors since 2022. She shares what FH means to her. “Prior to joining the board of directors, I spent a lot of time researching various non-profits and was immediately drawn to Friendship House (FH). I had a desire to volunteer and help in a meaningful way but also wanted to make sure the organization I chose was true and genuine, with respect to their overall purpose and mission. Fast forward 1 year later and I can honestly say Friendship House is the real deal. I almost forgot it’s been 1 year, because I was made to feel right at home. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a collective community, such as Friendship House focuses on how best to serve others!
“I’m proud to be a part of FH, for several reasons: (1) They put its clients’ needs first, (2) I love they offer assistance to combat homelessness, but they don’t stop there; the Case Managers work with the clients to help uncover the root cause contributing to homelessness and (3) Each and every person I’ve gotten to know over this past year is compassionate, caring, selfless and committed to combating homelessness.
“It’s so refreshing to know what attracted me to this organization 1 year ago, remains true today. The board members, staff and volunteers are committed to ensuring everyone finds their way home. I’m honored to serve on the Friendship House board of directors and looking forward to helping more clients find their way home, I believe I did!”
WHAT FH MEANS TO THE TWILLEYS
The Twilleys have been longtime supporters of Friendship House. They share what FH means to them. “We are proud supporters of Friendship House. We have witnessed how the organization makes a real and tangible difference by assisting people who are facing the challenges of homelessness and poverty. The dedicated team at Friendship House works tirelessly to provide not only shelter and food but also crucial support to those in need. Knowing our support contributes to this transformative work right in our own backyard is immensely gratifying. It’s more than just financial support; it’s about being part of a collective effort to create positive change. We’ve seen firsthand the impact of Friendship House’s programs, and their passionate leadership is a testament to their dedication. We’re honored to be associated with an organization that embodies the spirit of compassion, empowerment, and community that we hold dear.”
To me, Friendship House means …
Respect for one another shared over a cup of coffee on a cold Saturday winter morning during our hospitality at First & Central Presbyterian Church. During this time, we meet people who are both housed and unhoused coming for community, a hot cup of coffee and a warm smile. I have always loved the mutually respectful conversations over a hot cup of coffee with someone who wants to talk about their life and listen to mine.
Compassion from our community who support our mission through hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars donated every year. One of the most amazing examples of this is our involvement with the Highmark Walk. I remember our first year participating, where we raised just over $19,000 and had just under 200 walkers registered. Eight walks later, we had over 600 registered walkers and we raised over $90,000. Your compassion for our community has helped to make this one of our biggest fundraising events every year!
Love, which I experience amongst our staff. I remember a special, loving moment at one of my first staff retreats as Executive Director. I asked the staff to let me wash their feet. In these tender and awkward moments for many, amongst the tears and laughter, was love. To love is also to trust and have faith. My colleagues showed both of these as I told them their feet, as well as their hearts, were precious, and needed, as we walked with thousands of people every year.
Acceptance of everyone, regardless of their background, past experiences, or differences. Every FH program focuses on accepting people for who they are and where they are on their journey, whether an employee, volunteer, or someone accessing our services. I recently had a resident say to me, “I need to say thank you. This program has saved my life and I am so grateful for all you do to ensure this program continues. I didn’t think I would ever be in a position needing these services; I didn’t think these services were for someone like me. Thank you for accepting me.” Then the resident and I shared a teary eyed hug.
Grace. Grace is critical to our ability to respect one another, provide compassion, offer love and accept one another. Grace is the starting point for hope, which is needed when things are feeling so dark and difficult. Grace is also needed in unexpected moments. Last week, a company who had heard about our Clothing Bank delivered us 10,000 discontinued pants, in hundreds of boxes. The boxes, many of which were severely damaged during the delivery process, lay skewed, stacked, partially open or partially sorted throughout our Clothing Bank building. Although unexpected and taking up an incredible amount of space, grace helps us see this incredible gift amongst the chaos.
These values are critical components of a thriving community and ones you will see and experience throughout our organization. This is how we help make a temporary home for those who are without a loving, supportive community.
What does FH mean to me? It means a safe and healthy place for all to come and find community amongst one another. For me, FH is home.
Thank you to the hundreds of people who supported Friendship House for the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community. We are excited to share we had yet another record-breaking year for the 2023 Walk! With the support of our loving, supportive community, we raised $91,000.
We also had a record-breaking number of registered walkers. This year we had over 650 walkers registered for an FH walk team. Many showed up for the in-person 5k walk on June 10th, 2023 starting at the Tubman Garrett Park on the Riverfront. It was a wonderful morning filled with fun, friendship, and fundraising!
We are proud to announce, for the 4th year in a row, FH was the top fundraiser among all 250 nonprofit organizations that participated in the Highmark Walk across 7 cities!
Thank you Highmark for putting together such a wonderful event. Thank you to all our faith community partners who supported, donated, and came out to walk for #AWayHome! Thank you to our 15 corporate sponsors! Our silver and gold sponsors are featured below.
Thank you to everyone who walked or made a financial contribution. We couldn’t do this without your loving support. Thank you for walking for a way home for people facing homelessness and houselessness in Delaware!
With the summer approaching and Delaware’s weather predictions looking hot with high heat indexes, Friendship House knew there was more we could do to help people experiencing homelessness in our community find heat relief. FH already manages Code Purple in New Castle County, which is called when overnight temperatures drop below 20 degrees. When we call a Code Purple, we partner with local faith communities to provide emergency overnight shelter to keep those most vulnerable safe overnight.
During the summer months, we know the daytime temperatures are the most worrisome. Therefore, we have kicked off Code Orange which provides people inside heat relief when the temperatures are over 100 degrees. We reached out to our partnering faith communities who often assist us with Code Purple and received an overwhelming response in support of implementing this plan. We hosted our first Code Orange on July 4th, a day when our Empowerment Centers were closed for the holiday. Since then, we continue to call Code Orange on days when our Empowerment Centers are closed and there are limited resources and places to go for a person experiencing homelessness.
Thank you to all the volunteers and faith community partners who have made this possible. It has truly been remarkable to see the outpouring of support from our community!