“If [Friendship House] didn’t exist, I wouldn’t actually know what to do,” said Timothy, who has been utilizing the services provided at our Empowerment Center for many years. He first came to us when he was a child in the 90s with his mother. We assisted his mother with her overdue bills through what was then the Women’s Day Center. Timothy came back to us in his adult life for assistance, remembering how FH was able to assist his mother.
Timothy and Sheree (pictured left) are currently renting a room from a family member. Presently, they are unemployed and working with our staff to help secure a job and find permanent housing. This is especially important as Sheree is currently pregnant with their child. Sheree described a typical day for them, “We wake up about 7 am – 8 am, come to the Wilmington Empowerment Center to get some coffee and then we usually get on the bus, take care of the business we have to take care of.” Timothy added, “Waking up every morning, trying to figure out your next move is the most stressful part.”
Most of the folks our Empowerment Centers work with are currently experiencing homelessness and in desperate need of basic necessities and a loving, supportive community. This is where FH aims to fill the gaps by providing those needs to the community. “Friendship House guides you to the right path,” said Timothy about how FH has impacted his life. Guiding people towards a path of self-sufficient living within a community is part of our mission.
Sheree and Timothy frequently visit our Empowerment Center for the morning hospitality, clothing, checking their email, and other delivered mail. “They give me good advice,” Sheree said. “Currently, they are helping me get insurance and my food stamps. They also let me use their PO Box mailing address.”
“Most of the stuff I receive I would have never had. I got my birth certificate, social security card, and my ID through [FH]… Nine times out of ten, nobody would be where they are without Friendship House,” Timothy added after reflecting on the impact FH has made on his life. He continued, “I think FH plays a role in everything we do… They help with the struggle you’re going through.”
We aim to create a sense of community to help everyone find a place to call home. Timothy and Sheree reflected on their experience with the various staff members and volunteers they have met and worked with at the Empowerment Center. “Without [Friendship House] I would be lost because this is where I get most of my information. Each person here helps you get something different,” Sheree said.
“I think FH plays a role in everything we do… They help with the struggle you’re going through.” – Timothy
Timothy mentioned, “Christina (Empowerment Center Case Worker) would definitely say ‘don’t give up, no matter what you’re going through.’ Christina makes you smile more than anything.” Timothy and Sheree both praised the staff and volunteers for their attitudes, approach, and the work they do. Everyone involved with FH believes in the mission and works to fulfill this mission every day. “I appreciate all of them. I respect all of them,” Timothy said about the staff at the Empowerment Centers.
We work with thousands of individuals, each on a different path and at various points in their journey, every year at our four Empowerment Centers (Wilmington, Newark, MOT, and Boxwood). Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly in an effort to ensure everyone feels as though they are part of a loving, supportive community.
We hope to meet those in need, wherever they are in their journey. “[FH] taught me a valuable lesson: always keep asking for help, never stop asking for help because you’re gonna get it no matter where you go,” Timothy said.
We work to unite people facing homelessness with loving, supportive communities they can call home. And while they continue on their journey, we become their community. Timothy added a final comment about FH, “If you keep coming here, you’re not a friend anymore, you’re a family member.”