January 8, 2020

Week of Hope at HomeFront Offers Information, Volunteering Opportunities

WEEK OF HOPE: HomeFront art classes in ArtSpace, HomeFront’s art therapy room at the Family Campus, are just one of the many activities planned for the January 20-24 Week of Hope, when visitors can learn about HomeFront’s programs and volunteer opportunities that seek to impact the lives of local people who are trying to break the cycle of poverty. (Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

By Donald Gilpin

From Martin Luther King Day on January 20 through January 24, HomeFront, with its headquarters in Lawrenceville and its Family Campus in Ewing, is presenting its annual Week of Hope. Local residents are invited to “come, learn, act, and impact the lives of local people who are trying to break the cycle of poverty.”

The 28-year-old social service agency, which has become a national model for helping families who are experiencing homelessness to become self-sufficient, is urging visitors to attend at least one of the week’s events that are designed to give the public insight into issues related to poverty in the region, the organization’s mission and programs, and a range of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and skills.

“We’ve found that Martin Luther King Day is a time when many community members are looking for ways to come together to discuss new ways to create a brighter future,” said HomeFront Family Campus Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Cozzi, who is in charge of the Week of Hope.

Cozzi cited the positive response since the inception of the Week of Hope three years ago, with many “people coming out to see what we do and to volunteer.”

The first day of Week of Hope, January 20, is Tour and Paint Day, when visitors can join a bus tour of the city of Trenton from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m. and hear about HomeFront’s impact on the community, or take tours of HomeFront’s Family Campus in Ewing. That afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m., adults and children can participate in a group mural painting experience in ArtSpace, HomeFront’s art therapy room at the Family Campus.

Spring Into Action Day on Tuesday, January 21 will feature a morning Diaper Resource Center interest meeting, where those interested will learn how to participate with the volunteer team which meets regularly to ensure that diapers are provided for families who need them; followed by an art class in the afternoon on the Family Campus; and an evening storybook session with children staying at the HomeFront Campus in Ewing, a temporary shelter for families experiencing homelessness.

Wednesday, January 22 will be Basic Needs Night from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with volunteers ages 11 and older bringing new basic household and cleaning items to the Lawrenceville headquarters to put together move-in kits for families who were formerly homeless and are now moving into their new homes.

Expand Your Knowledge Day on Thursday, January 23 will include an informational, interactive open house at the Family Campus from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., where participants can learn about the 36 programs which make up HomeFront’s comprehensive services model.

Up Close and Personal Day will wrap up the week on Friday morning, January 24, at the Family Campus from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, with HomeFront CEO Connie Mercer and Chief Operating Officer Sarah Steward leading a discussion and Q&A about HomeFront’s current strategic goals, plans for the future, and potential impacts on the local community.

“Dr. King once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” Cozzi pointed out. “Working at HomeFront with our volunteers, I see our community does a tremendous amount for local families in need, and it’s truly wonderful.”

For more information and registration, visit www.homefrontnj.org.