Thursday, March 27, 2014

IHN, Wednesday March 26, 2014

Bob and Mary gave the wake up signal and the day was off to a good start.  The gate was opened and door unlocked.  Keith was the morning van driver and made all the appointed stops right on time.

Carol was the afternoon van driver and a bright orange cone saved a place in the covered parking area.  Sorry to FPC members who found the garage full, we also saved a place for Amber so she and Tristan would be "close to home" when they parked.

Kitty was the On Site coordinator and changed the sheets and set the table--oops that was dumb--tonight the guests eat at the Wednesday night supper in Fellowship Hall.  So the table was un-set!

Terry as an evening host came early to check out the new digs and then returned about the time the guests arrived.  Joe and Lois were there as the other evening hosts.  It was nice to have three tonight to shepherd all the little ones, the big brother and the parents up to Fellowship Hall.

The children had some play time after dinner.  Then Amber and Tristan turned in early.  By 7:15 Clarice and Wilbert along with their youngest ones, Ezekial, Isaiah and Jeremiah turned in early as well.

Terry enjoyed reading a chapter book with Sean Maurice and I'm sure he enjoyed it too!  He is a good big brother and is often called on to help out with his little brothers, so it is nice when he can have some special attention and time.  We need to start a collection of children's books for our host weeks; thanks Terry for this recommendation.

Lois enjoyed playing with Samantha on the floor.  And Samantha seemed delighted!  All and all a good evening.

John and Sara were the overnight hosts and found a quiet pit when they arrived from choir practice.  Hope everyone had a peaceful sleep and pleasant dreams.  God bless one and all.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

IHN, Tuesday March 25, 2014

Hugh and Julie made sure all the guests were up and ready to roll.  They reported a quiet night--just the kind we like!

Julie doing double-duty also drove the morning van.  The afternoon van driver was Bill Flatt, and as always he did his duty well.  Unfortunately a guest wasn't where he was expected...but all's well that ends well and everyone ended up back at FPC.

Madeline was the On-Site Coordinator and she put fresh sheets on the host beds, unlocked the doors and welcomed the first volunteers and guests home to First Pres.  She also brought along her house guest from Mexico and Omar entertained (and was entertained by) the children with his drawing talent!  What a treat.  He stayed for the delicious meal and enjoyed the families very much.  Too bad he doesn't live in Athens...we'd like to have him with us more often.

Patty and  Steve were evening hosts and Steve was also a van scout.  We are always grateful for our volunteers who do whatever it takes to make the day and night go well.  They visited with the families and made sure all went smoothly.

The delicious dinner was thanks to Greta and Margaret with thanks  to Julie for delivery.  They prepared a wonderful Chicken Tetrazini with Fruit, Bread, a Green Salad, Tea and to top it all off--chocolate cake!  YUM!  They were also thoughtful to bring ginger ale for Carissa whose pregnancy makes ginger ale a welcome drink.

The overnight hosts were Mary and Bob who added the Pit to places in the church they have slept since IHN first began.  They reported "low sugar" and that was re-supplied Wednesday.

Thanks to all who made Tuesday a good time, and educational in many respects.  It seems we all learn something new every day.  Thanks to Roger for taking many follow-up calls!  So far the Pit seems to be working out just fine.  We will be asking for feedback from all involved at the end of the week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IHN, Monday March 24, 2014

Madeline and Bert got everyone up and ready for the day.  After all left, they turned out lights, secured the door and were on their way.

Patty and Steve were the morning van drivers and got everyone to the right place at the right time. Clarice took their youngest children in their car,  Amber also drove her own car.  No'el with Samantha and Wilbert with Sean Maurice went on the van.

Bill was the afternoon van driver, and picked up everyone for the ride home.  Denise was the Monday on-site coordinator and was there to welcome volunteers and guests back to First Pres.  She had been there earlier in the day to talk with Roger about increasing the temperature in Amber's room so she and Tristan would be more comfortable.  She also put a sign on the door to the loading dock--it should only be used in case of emergencies.

The evening hosts were Margaret and Susan (subbing for Steve).  Bob and Nancy brought a yummy looking meal of macaroni and beef casserole, green beans, and a wonderful strawberry shortcake.  Our guests eat well, for which they are grateful.

The evening went well.  Julie and Hugh arrived for the overnight.  The Van will leave a bit earlier to make sure all are on time...they will leave at 7:20 instead of 7:30.  The door should be open for the van driver at 7:00 am.  Tuesday morning will not be a problem, as Julie is both the overnight host and the van driver for the next morning!

THANKS to all Monday volunteers for jobs well done.


Monday, March 24, 2014

IHN, Sunday March 23, 2014

It is a big day.  The First Presbyterian IHN Host week moves to the Youth Ministry area--also known as the PIT!  Everything is close by, showers across the hall, loading dock just a few steps away, storage close at hand.  Thanks to Adrian and the youth for sharing their wonderful space during our host weeks!  If all goes well this will be the permanent location.

Rick, Carl, Carla, Denise & Kitty D arrive at 1 pm to move all the FPC-IHN things to the lowest level from the "under the porch" storage area next to the Children's Ministry Suite.  There is more than one might think.   Thanks to Misse, Judy, Elaine, Richard and all the others we inconvenienced for sharing "your" space with us for so long.

At 2 pm Mary and Gail arrived and the serious set up began.  It was a learning experience for all of us, to see what fit where and how best to arrange things.  We are all pleased with the size of the guest rooms, and the nice furniture--that nicely stays in the rooms!  No more serious moving--yea.  We packed up Youth books and materials and marked them and stored them in a nearby closet until Sunday (or when Adrian needs them before).  The sofas and comfy chairs stayed in place.

The IHN truck delivered beds and belongings right on time.  No more bumping up and down steps.  Fortunately David, Ira and Michael arrive just before the truck to get the lay of the land for their Sat night duties, and they are pressed into service to roll beds into rooms, and get the belongings to the right families.  With so much good help it went very quickly and we could give the CCI guys a tour.  We are so happy to have CCI as our partner congregation.

Lots got done in addition to setting up the guest rooms, and making the storage room livable as our Host Room.  It is amazing how comfortable a storage room can be -- if not quite the Ritz!

ALL the First Pres linens and pillows got marked "1st Pres"  so church things are not not mixed in with the IHN things (which we stored near the coke machine to return on the truck on next Sunday).  Mary and Gail inventoried the IHN boxes, and put like items together.  A big job that is much easier to do before the guests arrive and first-day hubbub begins.

Marking was a big job--and Rick and Carla  --the markers --discovered it is easier to write on paper than blankets.  But since they were both IHN coordinators alone for two years each, those two can do anything!  Our team of six has wanted to do this for the last year...the move  to the Pit got us off the dime.

Mary also  made name tags for the week's volunteers.  Carl moved a lot of stuff!  We have our new storage area set up and ready to use, and the boxes that will be refilled are there.  The Set up  crew, with the extra duties, was finished a bit before 4 pm--thanks for a BIG job well done!  It won't be this way every time...so please sign up again.

Dishes, utensils, glasses, etc were moved from upstairs for the week.  We have new place  mats to use instead of table cloths (which have to be washed and ironed--instead of wiped off) and set the two tables with them for the first time.

Susan and Will arrived with the evening meal as well as diapers and wipes.  What generous volunteers we have!  They helped finish some last minute setting up.

Michelle left fabulous food for breakfast, lunches-to-pack, and snacks.  It was great to see the children eating fresh fruit!  We try to have only healthy food.

The Van arrived from Emanuel Episcopal.  The guests seem delighted with their space for the week.  We have a full house.  Four adults and six children:  Clarice, Wilbert and their four cute boys, Sean Maurice age 9,  Ezekiel age 3, Isaiah  who will be 2 on Sunday, and Jeremiah age 1.  No'el and  darling Samantha age 2.  Amber and precious 6 month old Tristan.

They got settled in their rooms and we had an orientation to the space and rules.  Two families have cars, and they moved those to the covered parking space off College Avenue, right at the Pit.  I moved the IHN van there also.  A cone will be set for the Van on Wed night.

Carol, the other evening host arrived and immediately helped with the children.  So nice to have so many loving hands for these active little ones.

Susan's dinner was a big hit.  Baked chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes with cheese,  and strawberry shortcake with whipped cream--yum.

Madeline and Bert arrived for their Overnight Host duty.  Madeline and Carol did a check of all the outside doors of FPC, to make sure all was secure.  When the Evening Hosts left, the parking gate was then closed for the night.

There was good conversation around the tables...and Madeline made a list of food the guests would enjoy (good idea Madeline!)  Terry will be sharing that with the meal prep volunteers to see if some things could be incorporated.  We will try to do that the week prior next host week.  We are always learning new and better ways.

We are all blessed to be part of Interfaith Hospitality Network and work together with such nice families.  First Pres and Congregation Children of Israel (CCI)  is blessed with compassionate, caring, generous, fun volunteers!  It is going to be a good week.  We may have bugs to work out--let us know when things need to be tweaked please.  Stay tuned for the rest of the IHN week.
God Bless you one and all.







Sunday, January 12, 2014

IHN Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday comes early.  The take-down crew of Roger, Carmen, Ed (back from overnight host duties on Fri), Alicia, John, Katherine, Sarah, Steven and Mac, Denise, Kitty D and Gail who set up and brought the week's snacks and breakfast food was back in Athens from her home in Atlanta and came to help!

David and Bruce were up and helping in moving things as well.  We have such great volunteers.  Jill had done a lot the night before to get ready.  As we were moving things from their room, Christopher was burrowing into his bed!  It's hard to get up early when you're 14 (or 71 actually).

Everyone in this crew was experienced and it went very well.  The sofa was moved back to the Pit, The laundry was put into large bags for Ann, Debbie and Sarah to pick up today.  Blinds were taken from the windows and stored for next time.  IHN Bins were put into the hall with the 16 beds all awaiting the truck.  The refrigerator was cleaned out and put back into order for the staff who shares with us with nary a complaint (or at least out-loud)  :)

The Sunday School rooms were re-set to order, with the help of photos Candice had taken, and the good work of Katherine, Sarah, Mac and Steven who know just how things are supposed to go.

There was a bit of time to visit and just as the truck arrived to pick up the IHN things, Denise and Kitty D were off with the van to take the guests to the Day Center.

Pete, an able IHN volunteer, was waiting with a truck and U-haul trailer to take Jill and her family to Buford to pick up their furniture and things (to the relief of Bill who had worried about their very empty apartment.)  Some wonderful volunteers had brought dishes this week, and other things have been coming in for them.

It has been a wonderful week.  We were able to see Christine, Belinda, Melissa and Dorothy on their last night with IHN and wish them well as they moved into their very own trailer.

Jill, who is admirably very neat and very organized wisely asked to stay at Emmanuel, the next host church, until Thursday so she can get everything arranged, stored, put away, fixed just right before she and the boys move in.  Also they need two beds which are available from IHN storage next week.

It was sad to tell them "so-long".  They are a wonderful family and have won the hearts of all of us.  We always are blessed by hosting and this week was no exception.

THANKS to all of you who helped to make this week go so smoothly.  Mark your calendar and save the dates:  Our next host week will be March 23 - 30, 2014.  Hope to see you then.

IHN, Saturday January 11, 2014


Kitty K. and Ed got the morning started and everyone moving.  Saturday is always a special day during the First Pres IHN host week. Everyone gets to sleep a little later.  Then, it's up to Fellowship Hall for a fabulous  Darryl Magrino breakfast!  Anything  you could want for breakfast--including omelets or eggs cooked to order.  What a treat!  Both the guests and the volunteers love it. What a gift from Darryl, thanks from one and all.

Erik was the morning van driver again--after doing his usual great job during the week as van coordinator, making sure all the drivers knew exactly where to be when.  And the IHN staff has been wonderful about making sure the van has plenty of gas...which helps a lot.

Bill Flatt was once again the smiling evening van driver, and he went to the Day Center early so he could take Jill, Christopher and Ethan to pick up their very own apartment key!  It was a big moment and Bill got to be there as the boys saw their soon-to-be-home for the first time.  There is a brand new refrigerator and oven, new carpeting and fresh paint everywhere.  Jill was thrilled. She has worked hard for this day. And kudos to the IHN staff for working with her to make this happen.

They then came to FPC to chill for a bit.  Kitty was On Site/On Call coordinator, and after the sheets were changed for the hosts, an inventory was taken of all the IHN things.

Before long evening hosts Molly and Ben were there with their precious Crawford.  They got the table set and welcomed Ethelyn and the dinner.  The boys were thrilled to see Pizza (3 different kinds) along with a big platter of chicken strips, a huge tossed salad and big chocolate chunk cookies which they enjoyed with ice cream left over from another evening.  Once again our meal providers outdid themselves!  Jill packaged up chicken strips for Sunday, and there was enough pizza left to take to the Day Center for a treat as well.

Overnight host pros Bruce and David were there (David's third volunteer job this week, so he certainly knows his way around!).

It was a quiet night, and the last one for Jill and family at First Presbyterian.  Thanks to all for a very good day.



Saturday, January 11, 2014

IHN, Friday January 10, 2014

After the excitement of Thursday night Lynn and Nancy were up and ready to go on Friday morning. They got all the morning chores done, and everyone up and ready for the van.

Jim McDonald (who also was part of the Thursday night fire alarm situation) was there to drive the van...nothing scares off our volunteers!

Madeline, fresh from being out of town, was the Friday On Site/On Call Coordinator and got the beds changed in the host room, and made sure all was in proper order for the evening.

Bill brought the guests in the afternoon and was greeted by Madeline.

Evening Hosts were Dianne and Smith.  Dianne has written today to say how much they enjoyed visiting with Jill and the boys.  They are such a nice family--and everyone has become quite fond of them.  Dianne also said "only at IHN can you meet the Mayor spending the night"!  Thanks again Nancy!  and everyone else who spends the night.  We appreciate non-Mayors just as much and there are a lot more of you.

Jeannie and Roger brought dinner and once again it hit the spot.  They had pulled pork and buns, baked beans, coleslaw and a delicious pie.  What a treat for everyone.

Overnight hosts were Kitty K and Ed, and since they are pros at this all was well.  Friday night had no excitement, which is actually a good thing.  Too much adrenaline can be hard on the body (at least for us older folks)

THANKS to all our wonderful volunteers.