January 9, 2019

HomeFront Is Looking for Volunteers During Action-Packed “Week of Hope”

WEEK OF HOPE: During its Week of Hope, January 19-25, HomeFront will offer many volunteer and educational opportunities related to breaking the cycle of poverty in the community. (Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

By Donald Gilpin

Breaking the cycle of poverty in our community is the goal of HomeFront (HF), and its January 19-25 Week of Hope will provide a wide range of opportunities for everybody to get involved and make difference in the lives of struggling local families.

Working at the diaper center or food pantry, reading to children, taking a bus tour of Trenton, participating in the painting of a giant mural, joining tours of the HF Family Campus and headquarters, coffee with HomeFront’s CEO and COO to learn about the organization and its future, and the Night of Hope open house featuring tours, refreshments, and entertainment are some of the events scheduled.

“The purpose of the Week of Hope is to introduce HomeFront to those who have a desire to learn more about our mission to end homelessness and to break the cycle of poverty in our community,” said HF Family Campus Volunteer Coordinator Heather Tuller. “During this week, individuals, families, and groups are given numerous opportunities to ‘taste and see’ the types of volunteer roles that exist within HomeFront, all designed to help our neighbors in need.”

This will be the third annual Week of Hope for the nonprofit organization headquartered on Princeton Avenue in Lawrenceville, with its Family Campus in Ewing near the Trenton-Mercer Airport. Since 1991, HF has provided food, shelter, education, job-training, emergency aid, and an array of children’s services and supports for Central New Jersey families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Family Campus, opened in 2015, accommodates 38 homeless families.

“From its very beginning almost 30 years ago, HomeFront has basically been a local volunteer effort, a classic example of neighbor helping neighbor,” said HF Founder and Executive Director Connie Mercer. 

“The feedback from families and people of all ages about our last two Weeks of Hope and the joys it brought into their own lives was so positive that we are really excited about WOH 2019,” she added.

Highlights of the Night of Hope, 4-7 p.m. on January 24 at the Family Campus, will include HF clients’ art, poetry, and short plays they wrote during a McCarter Theatre playwright workshop. The plays will be performed by actors from McCarter.

Volunteer opportunities at the Diaper Resource Center include bringing diapers and helping to sort, wrap, and shelve them to be ready for local families who need them. Food pantry volunteers will be asked to bring nonperishable food items and to help sort the donations. HF distributes over 1,000 free bags of food to local families each month. 

A bus tour with the HF CEO will tour Mercer County to learn about homelessness and poverty in the community, and visit several HF properties to see how HF programs can change lives. There will also be tours of the HF Family Campus and the main office, where programs like Fran’s Food Pantry, Furnish the Future, and SewingSpace are located. 

A community art opportunity for families with children under age 13 will take place at 2 p.m. and again at 3 p.m. on Monday, January 21 at the Family Campus. Participants are asked to bring acrylic paints and brushes for the art therapy program and a community art project that will beautify the Family Campus.

Learn more about the Week of Hope, volunteer and educational opportunities at HF, and sign up for events at www.homefront.org. On Saturday, January 19, HF staff will also be at Whole Foods on Route 1 and McCaffrey’s in West Windsor to talk with passers-by and sign up volunteers for Week of Hope events.