All posts by Friendship House

Our Big Announcement

Last year, we gave clothing to over 5,900 people, supported over 3,500 students with school uniform items, and employed 15 women through our Creating Excellent Outcomes (CEO) job and life-skills training program. We did this with the help of over 400 volunteers. It was an amazing year and what this has taught us is we have reached our capacity while requests for our services are increasing.
/
We are so excited to share that we have purchased the warehouse unit next door to our Clothing Bank! Our Clothing Bank now has doubled in size. We will be able to serve more people, host more volunteers, and hire more women who are justice involved.
/
We invite you to visit our new space! Stop by to say hi, volunteer with us, or drop off new or gently used clothing donations. 
/
If you’re interested in financially supporting the new space, please consider a donation today. To make a donation, please visit us online at friendshiphousede.org. We’re so grateful for your support in helping Delawareans find a way home!

A Letter from our Executive Director

Next year I will celebrate ten years of employment with this amazing organization. Although the journey is often described as a marathon and not a sprint, I feel like we have been running a marathon coupled with sprints, hurdles, high jumps, long jumps (and maybe even occasional javelin or discus throwing) the past couple of years. What will next year look like? Although I can’t say for certain, one thing I know for sure is we will remain your beloved and trusted organization to help every Delawarean find their way home.
/
We have worked hard to set ourselves up the best we can for 2023 – a year that likely will include higher prices and bills; a year with a possible recession; a year without enough housing to meet the needs of our community. None of this is a surprise, and it won’t be easy to navigate. As we entered this year, FH has the most locations than we have ever had. We have the most donors and volunteers than any other year prior. We are breaking records of people served. And we have the most love and support to offer than ever before.
/
This year, you can expect the same great level of service to our community as we discern what gaps still need to be filled. You can expect us to continue to address the inequities of those who are experiencing homelessness, houselessness, or are financially struggling to make ends meet. You can expect us to keep questioning, where will we find additional housing options for our community? And you can expect us to do it with tremendous respect, grace, acceptance, compassion, and love. Please journey with us as we continue to do what we do best: unite people facing homelessness with loving, supportive communities they can call home. 
/
/
Kim, Executive Director

Saturday Morning Hospitality

During the winter months of December through February, FH opens every Saturday morning at First & Central Presbyterian Church for hospitality to create a space for people in Wilmington to visit. This makes it so FH does morning hospitality 7 days a week, as we are open year-round Sunday morning for a grab-n-go breakfast at our Wilmington Empowerment Center located at Sts. Andrew and Matthew Episcopal Church. Hospitality is an important part of our Empowerment Center programming. It includes basic things like coffee, water, and access to a bathroom. It also includes another critical item: community. Hospitality at any FH location is sometimes the only time during the day a person will feel accepted and someone is happy to see them enter the door.
\
To a person living on the street or at a shelter in Wilmington, there are very few options on weekends as many coffee shops and places of business are closed. Libraries and other public places are also closed in the early mornings when the temperatures are the coldest. Folks staying in a shelter often need to be out by 7:00 am. In late December and early January especially, it is still dark at 7 am – and the hour before dawn is often the coldest hour of the day. FH fills the gap by opening for coffee and breakfast, creating a brief but needed safe haven for people experiencing homelessness and houselessness.
\
We’re grateful for our partnership with First & Central Presbyterian Church to make this possible!

Code Purple

For many Delawareans, Dec 23 was a Friday filled with finishing work before a long weekend, running last-minute holiday errands, or journeying to visit family or friends. Throughout the hustle and bustle of the day, you may have noticed a 45 degree drop in temperature. The morning started at a rainy 57 degrees and ended at 12 degrees with a feels like temperature of -8. This may have meant grabbing a heavier coat for evening plans, planning to Uber or drive instead of walk, or choosing to stay in all together. For someone experiencing homelessness and living on the street, however, proper planning for nights this cold can be the difference between life and death.
For Friendship House (FH), we are prepared to offer a warm, safe place for those experiencing homelessness on nights like this through our emergency shelter program, Code Purple, which is enacted when temperatures fall below 20 degrees in New Castle County. This life-saving program offers overnight shelter for anyone experiencing homelessness or houselessness. Over the weekend of Dec 23, which happened to be the weekend of Christmas, FH called Code Purple for 3 nights in a row. 
Frances, who utilized Code Purple over the holiday weekend shared, ”It’s a warm place. The food is good, I love the food!’ Frances has utilized our programs for about 5 years now. She also noted she enjoys seeing familiar faces, meeting new friends and feels Code Purple is a community. Dana, a long-time FH visitor, said “It’s awesome!” when asked about Code Purples. Dana also noted he enjoys the environment of Code Purples and the feel of togetherness.
This is why we do what we do, for people like Frances and Dana, so they can stay alive to see another day. 
We are so grateful for our loving, supportive community who make this program possible. We can only run this program because of our dedicated volunteers and faith community partners who continue to open their doors for people experiencing homelessness in order to feel togetherness. There will be more Code Purples to come this winter. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to us by emailing volunteer@friendshiphousede.org.

December 21: Day of Remembrance

Today (December 21) is the shortest day of the year. It is the day we will have the least amount of daylight of any other day of the year. Today is also the Winter Solstice, or the official first day of winter. It is also known as the Day of Remembrance: a day to celebrate the lives of those who died while experiencing homelessness or houselessness, and to be reminded of how hard it is to live without shelter. For the past six months, it’s been getting a little bit darker every day. This is what it can feel like for those experiencing homelessness – it can often feel like every day is a little darker than the day before.

There is a deep sorrow we feel when someone we work with who lived under stigma and broken systems for years never finds their way home. Dying while experiencing homelessness never gets easy to witness. We acknowledge those who died who we have worked with by writing their names on our virtual cemetery. It’s our way of making sure they are not forgotten. There are 52 names for 2022 on that list already. These were sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers. They were friends to others and to us. Not all of these people died alone or unhoused – but many did.

We truly believe every person deserves a loving, supportive community and a place to call home. We understand it is impossible to save every life of people going through homelessness, but that doesn’t mean we won’t keep trying. Here at Friendship House, it doesn’t matter how long it takes someone to find a community or find a home. We have made the commitment to be here during each person’s journey – as long as it takes. Even if it means seeing their name on our virtual cemetery.

We keep going, though, because we see so many people succeed in achieving their goals. We keep going because we are needed and we are wanted. We keep going knowing there is hope. So, here’s the good news: after today, for the next six months, every day is a little bit brighter. Even as the cold weather settles in, the sun will start to rise a few seconds earlier and set a few seconds later. We won’t notice it right away, but it is a promise that tomorrow there will be a little more light. That is the hope we hold on to – the hope we give to those who access our services: there’s always a brighter tomorrow.

You can be that bright tomorrow for our community today. A donation from you can support our Transitional Housing program, where our staff support people working on transitioning from homelessness to self-sufficient living in a loving, supportive community. Or it can support our Clothing Bank, where we clothe people annually with things such as school and winter clothing. Our Clothing Bank is also part of a woman’s community as she exits incarceration and works on reentering an ever changing world. It will support our Empowerment Centers, where we provide a safe place for anyone who is in need of resources to ensure their survival while living on the streets. It’s also a place of love and support as we provide hospitality throughout the year. Your donation can support our Financial Assistance program, which has become a critical lifeline for people who have financial hardship, at risk of losing their home, on the brink of securing employment, or have significant barriers in their way keeping them from their goals. Your donation might be used for our Winter Programming, which includes the life-saving Code Purple program and Saturday Morning Hospitality.

Your gift is needed for us to be able to keep hope alive in those who are, on the darkest day of the year, deserving of a brighter tomorrow. Please consider a donation to Friendship House today and help us fight till every person has a place to call home.

1 2 3 18