Friends of the Family
In 1988, several ladies from Emmanuel were contacted and asked if they could help out with volunteer babysitting for single parents to provide the mothers with a day out and some time away from their children. As it turned out, most were single mothers with overwhelming social and economic needs. Their real needs were for help with the added responsibilities of parenting, especially newborns.
In the beginning, two Emmanuel ladies — one, a mother of five and the other a trained nurse and mother of two, began to provide help in the way of encouragement and teaching of parenting skills, such as bathing, feeding and general care of their newborn, as well as how to manage their home. Friends of the Family was born in the process. Their early ministry focus was toward single and two parent families on the central North Side with new babies — black, white, and bi-racial.
Toting gift baskets and home-cooked meals, these one-on-one visits meant the ladies were a welcomed relief for these precious families. The program was distinguished by the ladies special gift for empowering these families with self-esteem, self-respect, respect for others, an opportunity for spiritual growth and the support of a faith community.
Gradually, the focus for the ministry for new mothers gave way to changing ergonomics. Hearing the many stories of families in need over the years, the ladies came to understand that being a Friend of the Family often meant just sitting down and listening.
With this wisdom, about eight years ago, Friends of the Family, now a group of five ladies, began to focus on the many elderly living in the high rises buildings in the same area. Gift baskets now contained candy, shampoo, lotion, fruit, laundry soap, tissues, socks, razors and other sundries.
As an additional service to the community, Friends of the Family discovered a Gospel singing group called Voices for Christ. The group was invited to Emmanuel to give a performance. Residents of the high-rise were rounded up as special guests for a spirited time of listening and singing along to the uplifting voices of faith.
The ladies’ gift of carrying the love and care of Christ to His children continues. We look forward to seeing where God will lead us in the future. Our desire is that we would continue to be a steadfast witness to God’s presence, Emmanuel (God with Us.)
To attend the next Voices for Christ event at Emmanuel, visit the Voices for Christ link and add your name to the mailing list. Donations gratefully accepted.