Families are taken between the Day Center and the host congregation in our 14-passenger van, driven by volunteer drivers. Each host welcomes up to 5 families for a week at a time, approximately 3 to 4 times per year. The congregations are able to provide food and a safe place to stay for the evening along with volunteer companions, keeping the overall shelter cost of RAIHN comparatively low.
During the week there are approximately 70 slots for volunteers. Some congregations have a different member for each slot; others have volunteers take on multiple roles. Volunteers come from the Host and Support Congregations and are assigned duties by the Host and Support Coordinators—members of the Host and Support Congregations who oversee the week.
A Typical Host Week
Sunday: The Coordinators utilize their volunteers to set up family bedrooms and purchase food supplies for the week. Guest families arrive at the Host Congregation Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm and receive a welcome orientation. The rooms for the families and the common area have been set up prior to the arrival.
Each night of hosting: Families settle in, relax and meet the coordinators and the evening volunteers. At 6:00 pm, dinner is served family style. Guests and volunteers share the meal together. Families are responsible for their children and help with clean up and chores. After dinner, volunteers fellowship with families. Hosts and their families play games, help with homework, watch videos, or just talk. Food for lunch is available in the kitchen area and parents make sack lunches for their families for the following day. Adults and overnight volunteers turn in around 10:00 pm; children at appropriate earlier bedtimes.
Each morning: Wake up is around 6:00 am. Two volunteers will spend the night at the congregation. Breakfast is available during the week; typically cereal and other convenient foods. The RAIHN van picks the families up no later than 7:00 am.
During the day (Families are not at the congregation): The van takes guests to the Day Center. From there, children will go to school and the parents to their jobs. In the afternoon the reverse is done. If the parents do not have a job, they work with the RAIHN Director to seek employment, housing, and other resources to help them regain their independence. The Day Center has bathrooms with showers, laundry facilities and other necessities to prepare for the day. Everyone is picked up at the Day Center at 5:00 pm and returns to the Host Congregation, and the cycle repeats.
Saturday: The families can sleep in and may enjoy a hot breakfast. Families are picked up to return to the Day Center at 10:00 am and do what families typically do on weekends—see friends and relatives, take children to activities, etc. The van picks up guests at 4:00 pm to return to the Host Congregation.
The next Sunday: The families are packed up and out of their rooms when needed. They spend time in the communal area until it is time to move on to the next congregation at 1:30 pm. Families that want to attend services will usually do so at their own congregations; some may choose to worship at a Host Congregation.
…and the next Host Congregation begins its week. This cycle is repeated every day of the year, with the Day Center closed on major holidays. RAIHN truly is a community working together to care for those in need.