Family Promise is a national organization started in Summit, New Jersey in 1988 which oversees 138 networks in 39 states. Family Promise of Greater Rochester is an organization with a small paid staff and a large network of volunteers from 40 faith communities. Food and shelter are given to families, with children under 18, who find themselves homeless. They are housed in various host churches for a week at a time, giving them a chance to regroup, rejuvenate, and get back on their feet with dignity. The network operates 365 days a year with the help of 40 faith communities and can house up to 14 people. Host churches put up families overnight in their church facilities for a week 4 or 5 times each year. “Buddy” churches supply volunteers.

First Unitarian Universalist Church uses the Good Shepherd Lutheran church building when we host families. Our buddy churches, that supply a few more volunteers, are Congregational Church UCC, St. Pius Catholic Church, and St. John’s Catholic Church.

Upcoming Events

Survive to Thrive- Cardboard Box City Fundraising Event on Friday, October 18 from 5 pm to 6 am at Berean Community Church property (3157 Kenosha Dr. NW)

Annual Choir Concert and Silent Auction Saturday, November 16, 1-3:30 pm at Bethel Lutheran Church

How can I help?

Sign up to serve as:

  • A morning or afternoon driver / 6:45 a.m. or 4:45 p.m.
  • Evening host / 5:15 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Overnight host / 8:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m.
  • Provider of an evening meal / 6:00 p.m

When can I volunteer?

Our next hosting week is November 17-24 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Julie Gilkinson will coordinate the volunteering that week so contact her to sign up or to get more information.

2019 hosting weeks are as follows:

November 17-24

Can I get some training?

Yes. In fact, in order to volunteer, you must attend informational and sensitivity training about IHN and homelessness once every 3 years, consent to a background check, and sign a behavior policy.  See the training dates and times below. There is no need to sign up ahead of time. If you can’t make the training, you can still help out by setting up or taking down guest rooms, launder sheets and towels, and prepare a meal for the families.

2019 Training days and times:

Date Time Location Trainer
10/21/2019 6:30 – 8 Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
559 20th St. SW Rochester, MN 55902
11/04/2019 6:30 – 8 The Exchange
3945 10th Ave NW Rochester, MN 55901


Re-certification is now available to do online!
For those who just need to update your training (every 3 years), there is now a re-certification tab on the Family Promise Website.

Once on the website, go to the “volunteer” tab, then select “Training Video” and watch it. You will then need to go back and select “Training  Presentation” and go through the PowerPoint. After both of those are completed, go back and select “Volunteer Recertification. You will then fill out the form and click “Submit.”

Brigitte Bednar is the Executive Director and Nicollette Meyer is the Program Director and Case Manager at Family Promise: