I first got involved with HomeFront over 20 years ago when they needed help with the first Christmas party. Since that time I have volunteered serving food at the motels, helping out at the annual Christmas party which for several years included picking up and driving a family there, sorting clothes at the free store and then as a board member for 14 years during which I was the secretary for first five years. Currently I am a board member of HomeFront TLC Inc, a separate entity that buys and manages the buildings that provide emergency, temporary and permanent housing for our clients and their families. Over the last 20 years HomeFront has grown from an all volunteer army of a few to an organization with over 100 employees and 4000 volunteers. It is a very unique and special organization that has made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of homeless and working poor people in Mercer County. When I first got involved with HomeFront I was living in Middlesex county and working in Morris county. However I grew up in Lawrenceville and after living there for 23 years, HomeFront was the perfect organization that allowed me to give something back to the community. I still live in Middlesex County and have continued my involvement with HomeFront because I have found no other organization that has the breadth of programming, talent, resources and the constant mission to eliminate homelessness to make a permanent difference by getting families off of welfare enabling them to be contributing members of the community and society.
I have been associated with HomeFront for about a decade, first as a volunteer and later as a member of the Board of Trustees. What everyone needs to know about HomeFront is that it played a paramount role in emptying the motels along Route 1 of moms and children in need of emergency housing. HomeFront opened the Family Preservation Center - a "shelter" in a park like setting, which is unlike any shelter you've likely imagined. It is a safe, warm, friendly, uplifting, peaceful place where moms and their little ones are provided with private rooms, nutrious meals and an array of supportive services focused upon the children pursuing their education, as well as having fun and being provided with all kinds of opportunities, while the moms are helped along the road to self sufficiency and independence through job training, mentoring, parenting skills, GED and much much more. I am passionate about this organization because I have seen that it makes a huge difference in so many lives. I am passionate about this organization because it simply goes about its important business of serving those most in need day in and day out without a lot of fanfare - HomeFront does not talk about doing IT ACTUALLY DOES!!! I am passionate about this organization because it is staffed by women and men whose first priotity is to do whatever needs to be done - to do whatever it takes - to better the existence of our less fortunate neighbors. We are blessed to have this organization in our community.
I have followed the development of Homefront since its founding about 20 years ago. It is a incredible organization that serves homeless families and those in danger of becoming homeless. It has a visionary founder/leader, Connie Mercer, and one of the most professional and talented staffs I have encountered in the nonprofit sector. It has a comprehensive approach to working with homeless families, documented processes, an active board, and a large number of dedicated volunteers. In addition to delivering high quality services, HomeFront is an advocate for eliminating the causes of homelessness. This agency has earned the respect of funders, donors, volunteers, social services professionals, and clients for responding to the needs of clients promptly, wholistically and with dignity and respect.
Recently, I have had the privilege of being selected as a new member of the HomeFront Board. I continue to be impressed by the unceasing devotion of the staff to the mission of ending homelessness in Central New Jersey by accessing resources to help clients on the path to self-sufficiency through skill development and by increasing the availability of adequate affordable housing. As part of orientation, I served as an attendant at the reception desk. The flow of those in need both via foot and phone was nothing short of incredible. Bags of food were distributed and case managers contacted. This relatively brief stint further served to reinforce the critical role HomeFront plays in seeking to improve the life circumstances of those less fortunate in our community.