One of the organizations that Good Deeds Mortgage is proud to support is Safe Families. Safe Families for Children is a faith-based community service movement that serves vulnerable, isolated families in crisis situations—some of which may have the potential to lead to abuse and/or neglect. Wrapping a circle of support around these families, Safe Families creates extended family-like relationships—including a safe home for children to live in temporarily—that give parents space to get their lives back on track until they are in a better place to care for their children again. This network of relationships keeps children from entering the foster care system and, ultimately, helps keep families together.
We at Good Deeds Mortgage care deeply about Safe Families as an organization, as well as their mission. Our newest Loan Officer, Ben Herr and his daughter Ally Kinnaman, helped bring Safe Families to Portland several years ago. He and his wife Judy have also hosted several children through the program. Here is Ben’s answer to the question, “why do you care?”
“Several years ago, my wife and I were reading the Bible when we came across Matthew 25:40-45 that forced us to do some personal inventory. It is Jesus speaking and this is what he says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” For me as a Christian, I read this and couldn’t help but feel it’s weight. We felt paralyzed in how we could help alleviate the homelessness and vulnerable children and families that were all around us. This is what eventually led us to help start a Safe Families chapter in Portland. After starting the chapter, we wanted to do more, so we hosted a couple of homeless teens, one after the other, each for about a year. We were empty nesters who had raised 3 daughters so we felt like this is where we could jump in. Our home has empty rooms and we felt like it needed to be used for those who were less fortunate. We have always wanted our home to be a place that is open for whoever needs it and Safe Families gave us the vehicle to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Hope in the Brokenness
The reality is, there is so much brokenness in the world around us and in all of our communities. Safe Families wants to come alongside the vulnerable and help mend some of that brokenness. The organization’s goal is not to take the kids from their homes, nor is it to split the family up. Instead, they use volunteers like Ben to come alongside a family and/or child, support them, and give them a chance to mend and get back on their feet. The process, though temporary, can have permanent results. Through Safe Families, lives are changed and families are able to redefine who they are. The goal is to have one family walk alongside another to lend a hand at the most opportune and needed time.
There are Safe Families chapters in cities all across the country and we encourage all of you to think about how you might be involved. Support them financially, become a host family, volunteer in other ways and spread the word about them on social media. Please consider getting involved with Safe Families in your community. Below are three stories about how families were changed and restored through the ministry of Safe Families.
Stories of Restoration
1. Time to Heal
“We were referred to a single mom of two boys, 7 and 9 years of age. The social worker reported that she had two strokes this week and was paralyzed on her left side with no place for her sons to go while she was admitted to acute treatment. Her partner took a look at the situation and left the hospital overwhelmed, leaving the social worker to find a place for both Mom and the boys. Within 30 minutes of talking to the social worker a host home was located. Alicia and Dan said “yes” to adding two boys to their child filled home, once they were done quarantining over the weekend of course. The Host Family lives 20 minutes from Moms rehab home, but are making it work. We connected a family coach and circle of support around Mom.”
2. Helping Hands for a New Mom
“A staff member from one of our community partners called us on New Years Eve on behalf of Anne, who is living at their facility while she is getting back on her feet. Over the last eight months, Anne has been working to transcend homelessness while pregnant. She had a rough delivery, and both she and her baby had many complications after the birth, which resulted in numerous hospitalizations. After Anne’s second surgery, she was not able to care for her baby, Paul. She needed time to rest and to heal. When our staff got the phone call from our community partner, we asked our volunteers to consider this need. A Host Family eagerly said YES to caring for this sweet, medically fragile newborn.”
3. Radical Changes
“Dianna had a difficult childhood, to say the least. This trauma and unhealthy environment made her very vulnerable to the culture of Portland. She ended up being trafficked. Not knowing who to trust with multiple children, she ended up at a program curated for women stuck in this confusing and difficult environment. Through LifeWorksNW she was connected to compassionate therapists who have been able to help her through what happened and next steps towards health. That’s when SFFC (Safe Families for Children) was contacted. She had no beds for her children in her apartment. SFFC volunteers were able to deliver lightly used furniture to help furnish her apartment. The smiles on the kiddo’s faces when they found out they had their own beds was a mix of heartwarming and sadness, of the realization of what they have gone through. Through this connection, we have started to build a relationship with Dianna. With LifeworksNW’s help, she has been able to start trusting people again. We were contacted a second time as Dianna cannot afford Christmas presents this year and wasn’t sure who could help her. Dianna was surprised to find that the volunteer who helped with furniture also wanted to help with more needs and wanted relationship with her. She is shocked that someone who doesn’t know her very well would like to bless her family with these needs. Furthermore, by love with no strings attached.”