Friday, October 24, 2014

IHN, Friday October 24, 2014

Friday morning before sunup found Denise outside the gate of the garage...Kiera,  needs to leave by 5:45 am is to open the gate each morning at 5:30 so the early driver can get in.  Sleep got the best of her today.  Denise reached Overnight Host Elaine Johnson by phone (what did we do without them?)  just as Kiera came flying out to open the gate.  It was rush, rush to get her family ready and to the Van--Van...where is the van?

A case of miscommunication (mine) to new Van Drivers, who had proven their mettle by being extremely flexible last evening!  I told them to leave the van "at the church"--which they did, at the church where they picked it up.  Makes perfect sense.  Of course what I said was not exactly what I meant.  I meant the other church--FPC!   Sorry Al and Heidi --don't give up on driving the van with us!  And sorry Denise, but of course you managed to get the guests where they needed to be on time.

Denise got Kiera and her three children to her mothers.  Then came back and got Tasha and Tatiana and went to the Day Center to wait for the school bus.  Then back to FPC and Denise's duty was over, except for getting herself back to First Baptist to get her own car.  She just encountered one young drunk along the way...and by that time was certainly wide awake!  He went one way and she another, and she was definitely the steadier of the two.

Elaine and Tim Johnson reported a quiet Thursday evening, the kind we like!  They made sure Jan and her three children were up and ready for the day this morning.

Tommy Jackson drove the van again and after dropping Jan and family at the Day Center took Tasha for a job interview.  Tommy--you took her to an important place, because she was offered a job and will start the training on Monday.  Yea!!

The On-Site/On-Call Coordinator was Erik Ness and Paige Oelke was "shadowing" and helping so she will be ready to do this for our next host week in January.  They got the beds made, and everything in order for guests and volunteers.

Denise was back for afternoon van driving and got Tasha, who is still suffering from a sore foot/ankle, and Tatiana and took them to the church.  Jan's three children are staying with family for the week-end and they won't be returning to FPC.

Denise made a later pickup of Kiera and family.  She learned the good news that Kiera does not have to go to work in the morning...know that she and her children will enjoy having a rare later wake up tomorrow morning.

Steve and Patty Whiten were  the Evening Hosts, ably assisted by their two grand-children.  It is always nice to have youngsters in the volunteer corps.  One made a fine foose-ball partner.    Bob and Nancy Bostrum brought dinner which was enjoyed by all:  Broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole, wild rice, carrots and rolls.  Yummy!!

 Kitty Kellog and Ed Law are the Overnight Hosts.  They can go to sleep dreaming of Daryl's wonderful breakfast tomorrow morning--the highlight of the FPC/CCI Host Week.

It has been a good week so far, with really nice guests and very flexible volunteers.   God Bless everyone.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

IHN, Thursday Oct 23, 2014

I got to FPC at 5:30 am to do the early shift of Van Driving.  Overnight Host Sara Kipp was up and making coffee and greeted me with her usual smile.  I got to meet our new guests who arrived last night, Mom Tasha and cute 8 year old daughter Tahtiana.  Kiera's little one spent last night with grandmother so just Kievonta and Jarquavious to go with Kiera this morning on the Van--and they were the first stop.  The benefit of this time of day is the traffic is sparse to none.  We then went to the IHN Day Center to wait for the school bus for Tahtiana, which arrived about 6:30 goodness that's an early start for little kids.

Tasha and I headed back to FPC.  Tasha went back to bed (good choice!).   She is having trouble walking because of an injured ankle.  Thankfully she has a doctor's appointment this afternoon.  I had a nice visit with John Kipp before he began his very busy Thursday (at least he didn't have far to go to get to work--just up the steps).  Jan and family were still asleep which is as it should be at this time of day.

Sara did the laundry today.  Van Driver Chuck Toney arrived to take Jan, Ashley, Don and Madison along with Tasha to the Day Center.

The changes for the day began early this morning...Tasha can't walk, because of her ankle, to take Tahtiana to her after school event as had been planned.  Got a message to the afternoon van drivers Al & Heidi Davison.  Before they did the first pick up there were two other changes...Kiera doesn't work late tonight after all and will need to be picked up.
Then NO, never mind, Kiera has  found a ride for them to FPC.

Susan Thackray is the On-Site/On-Call coordinator for today and got the sheets changed on the Host beds and made sure everything was ready for our guests and the Thursday volunteers.

Tasha's doctor called in meds for her and the Davison's stopped to get them.  Well,  the pharmacy is
s-l-o-w...  They were concerned those waiting in the Pit would be concerned.  I tried to let Susan know they would be late arriving,  also the meal preparers, and the evening hosts--but had to leave messages for all.

The Davison's first time to drive the van began and ended with things a bit out of the ordinary.  Though as someone said "normal" is a setting on a dryer and life isn't like that!  Our volunteers continue to demonstrate great flexibility and good cheer for which we are quite grateful.

Megan and Brad Sperr, and of course William,  had a  Barbecue dinner--always a hit!  Our guests do not go hungry.

Margaret Johansen and Tanna Nicholson were the evening hosts.  Hearing nothing to the contrary I'm thinking it was a quiet evening.  Early mornings mean early to bed also!

The Overnight Hosts are Tim and Elaine Johnson--hope everyone slept well.

Thanks to one and all for the many things you did today.  Sweet Dreams, God bless one and all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Oct 22, 2014

Madeline Van Dyck got up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning for van driving duties and drove Kiera and family to Keira's Moms for work and school pick ups and for the Mom to keep little Kemya.

Madeline went back to FPC and joined the other Overnight Host Winston Stephens in the morning routine. Tommy Jackson picked up Jan and her family and drove them to the Day Center where the school bus picks up the three children.

Yesterday Barb Laughlin picked up the laundry from the first half of the week and took them home to wash--an important part of our host week.

In the afternoon Jayne Bailey was once again the van driver for the third day in a row...thanks Jayne.  She picked up Jan and family and Keira and family.  We had thought Keira was to work late both Wednesday and Thursday evenings--but mid-day learned that she would get off at the regular time today.  This week has been full of changes,  life is like that.  We so appreciate the flexibility of our volunteers.

Denise Horton was the On-Site/On-Call Coordinator and Terry Nestor worked with her.  They moved the Host Room  from a regular room to the storage closet, since the third family arrived tonight and guests have "first dibs" on the real rooms!  Four beds got clean sheets.  The storage closet is large and Kim keeps it beautifully, so it is not a bad place to spend the night.

Terry Nestor and Jayne Bailey are the Evening Hosts.  The guests preferred to eat in the Pit, so FPC Wed Night Supper food was brought downstairs:  Tilapia, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans and there was still delicious Pork Loins and mashed potatoes from last night, which were heated up and as Denise said "Everyone enjoyed the feast".  It was topped off by home-made cupcakes baked and decorated for Halloween by Jayne.

Our new guests Tasha and her daughter Tahtiana (age 8) arrived a bit after 8:00 and Terry and Jayne provided Orientation.  Regina, the IHN staff person who works with the guests, was also there to talk with her again.  Tasha had been for an early evening job interview and that looks promising.  Sure hope that will work out well.

John and Sara Kipp are the overnight hosts.

Please say a prayer for all our families and volunteers.  Life can present difficult situations for all of us and we never know what others are facing.  God bless you one and all

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

IHN, Tuesday Oct 21, 2014

Tuesday morning got started early with Kiera and her children up, dressed and just about ready to go when I arrived at 5:35 am.  Kiera got the children's little backpacks filled with tasty lunch items, thanks to Michelle's good shopping.

Everyone else was still asleep as we turned out the lights and headed to Kiera's Moms.  The bonus at this time of day is there is no traffic and the stars are bring, which Kiera's boys enjoyed seeing.  Soon I was back at the church to leave the Van, and it was still dark and sleepy in our IHN quarters--yea.

Lynn and Happy were the overnight hosts and made sure Jan and family were ready to go.  Richard Lane got them to the Day Center to catch the bus to school right on time.

Terry McRae was on On-Site/On-Call Coordinator for Tuesday and he and daughter Elizabeth came to the Pit about noon and made up the host room beds (Terry gives Elizabeth 90% of the credit, just as a good Dad should do!)  Don DeMaria arrived at 4:30 to join Terry and learn more about the way the Coordinating Team works and to help get everything ready for our guests.

Jayne Bailey drove the afternoon van (again).   She picked up the Van, and then  families and brought everyone back to FPC.  Along the way she learned that there was no hot water last night for showers at FPC--uh oh.

Susan Ferguson brought the dinner which got rave reviews.  A delicious pork loin,  mashed potatoes, salad and cup cakes.  Yum!

Ben, Molly and Crawford Brunjes were Evening Hosts.  Ben called to tell me the hot water wasn't working (at that point I hadn't talked with Jayne).   He said he tried to find the water heater to see if he could get it to work.   I did the only thing I knew to do--call Roger Burbage!  He told me where the water heater is located, and said he'd get in touch with a plumber tomorrow. need, Ben found the water heater while I was on the phone with him giving Roger's directions.  Not too long afterward he sent me a text: "the water heater is working again!"  Yea Ben--thanks for being so handy!  Hope you are teaching Crawford these important skills, well perhaps when he is a bit older.  We have the best volunteers.  I am sure our guests were thankful, since my only suggestion was to heat water in big pots on the stove upstairs--not quite the same as a nice hot shower.

Madeline Van Dyck and Winston Stephens are the overnight hosts tonight...and I hope all sleep well and it is an uneventful evening.

God bless you one and all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

IHN, Sunday Oct 19 and Monday Oct 20, 2014

The final FPC/CCI IHN Host Week for 2014 began on Sunday.  This coincided with the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens.  We are proud to be part of this network of congregations helping families in need.

The week started at 1:45 when the Set-Up crew gathered to get The Pit ready for our IHN guests.  Frequent Set Up Volunteers Carl Bergmann and Mary Peace helped show the routine to four from 2015-17 Coordinating Team:  Jayne  Bailey,  Robbie Bryan,  Terry Nestor and Paige Oelke .  (The other two new Coordinating Team members Donna Gerhardt and Don DeMaria were not able to be there)  Denise Horton and Kitty Donnan were also part of the crew.  I am amazed that two of this crew also ran the AthHalf--Denise and Paige.  Are they good or what??

The truck arrived promptly at 2:00 and the beds and bins were rolled off and put into the correct rooms and places.  Once again we realize how wonderful it is to have almost everything right in the Pit!  It makes set up a breeze.  Thanks again to KIM NESS and the YOUTH for being so hospitable, giving us two closets and making us feel welcome.

Beds were made, lamps plugged in, name tags written, windows covered for privacy, rules posted, toys gathered and the set up was complete.

Michelle Clendin-Shaw brought a lot of wonderful food for our guests to have for breakfast, snacks and to make their lunches...a bountiful contribution, which will be enjoyed by all!

Not only is this host week an anniversary...but it is proving to be unlike others in a number of ways.  Just reminding us that the # 1 quality for an IHN Volunteer is FLEXIBILITY!

Instead of 5:00 pm the guests arrived at 3:30--but with all the good help we were ready.  Emmanuel Episcopal was the IHN host last week and they also hosted the 10th anniversary celebration, so they had a lot going on.  Ken Sherman, IHN Executive Director drove the van and delivered the guests.

We were happy to welcome two delightful families:  Jan and her children Ashley (14), Don (13) and Madison (11).  Keira and her family Kievonta (7), Jarquavious (6) and Kemya (2).

They got settled into their rooms, and the children enjoyed some fruit and some time playing the games in the Pit.

A bit before 5 both families got back into the Van and headed to Emmanuel for the celebration with Denise in the drivers seat.  Terry, Jayne and Kitty went in cars and we all sat together.  It was a nice program and the room was full of people and good spirits.  Lee and her children (Kawani, JR & Zanora), who were guests with us in August were there and it was great to see them again.  A shout-out was given to Bert Prestegarde who was the first FPC Coordinator...all by herself.  It has taken six of us to do what she did!  Thanks Bert for getting us off to a good start.

Terry held Zanora--who celebrated her first birthday with us in August--and soon she had a sleeping girl in her lap.  Lee  spoke about her experience as an IHN Guest and did a really nice job.

After the program there were refreshments, and all of us enjoyed them.   Then we went back to FPC.
Don and Maggie DeMaria were there with many boxes of Pizzas, and a nice salad along with yummy cookies.  The fact that we had just had some "refreshments" did not keep anyone from enjoying a delicious dinner!  Pizzas hit the spot!  And kudos to Don--who ran the AthHalf and Maggie--who was in the cheering crown--and both managed to bring dinner and join the guests in eating and conversation.  Thanks for being in such great shape you two.

Steve Thackray and Bruce Miller were the Evening Hosts.  Bruce did double duty as he and David Alper were the overnight hosts.

MONDAY morning began early with Denise driving the van at 5:45 am to take Kiera and her children to her Mothers house...where the older two get the bus to school, and the two year old stays with her grandmother, and Kiera gets picked up for her job.  Denise took the van back to the church,  and David opened the door not only dressed but already with his name tag on!

Richard Lane drove Jan and her family to the Day Center where they took a shower and changed clothes.  They didn't realize we have showers at the church...a nice plus for our guest, since they are just across the hall in the Pit.  After today they will get dressed at the church and everyone will get to sleep a bit later.

The On-Site/On-Call Coordinator for Monday was Madeline Van Dyck.  She was joined by Jayne Bailey.  The new coordinators will each be with us one late afternoon to see what this job is about.  Together they put clean sheets on the overnight host beds, and mints on their pillows.  They made sure everything was ready for the guests.

Then Jayne, another double-duty person, drove the afternoon van to pick up Keira & her family.  (Jan and family had a meeting at school and had a ride back to FPC.)    Imagine Jayne's surprise when she realized the gas tank was on empty--very empty!  This doesn't happen often, but it always makes your heart beat faster when it does and you have a van full of tired children, to say nothing of their Mom who had worked all day.  And as happens, no gas station in sight.  Jayne made the wise decision to head straight back to the church and unload everyone.

Smith Wilson to the rescue!  He and Dianne were the Evening Hosts and he took the Van and got it filled up (he will be reimbursed for the gas--and thanked for the effort!!)

Bertis and Kathryn Downs and family brought the delicious dinner:  grilled chicken, vegetables, salad, fruit, bread, cookies and mini-cupcakes.  It was a big hit!  And I am sure that Jan and family were thrilled to find these things waiting when they returned from their school meeting!  Guests never go hungry during our Host Week.

Overnight hosts are Lynn and Happy Dicks.  They will make sure the overnight goes well.

ONE MORE THING...we found out today that a third family will join us Wednesday evening.  Tasha and her daughter Tahtina (8).  We look forward to welcoming them "home" for the rest of the week.

We are grateful to all our volunteers.  In the 10th anniversary program there were some comments about what was most helpful to guests while in the IHN program.  Some of the responses included:

"Being treated with respect",  

"The security of knowing that my kids and I had a stable home",

"Love, kindness, concern, thoughtfulness"  

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO FOR OUR GUESTS!  We are off to a good start.
Sweet dreams, please remember our guests and volunteers in your prayers.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

IHN, Sunday August 10, 2014

When I arrived at FPC this morning not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse (which I hope was outside!)  Then Denise arrived and soon Madeline came out of the Host Room thinking we were the little boys up and about...but they were sound asleep.  Winston came out and she and Madeline reported a good over-night.  When they arrived last night they said the boys were having a great time with David and Ira--using them as the foundation for the building they were constructing out of blocks.  What wonderful volunteers we have!

The Take Down crew assembled quickly, Todd, Kim,  Anna Marie, Jean, Katie Sue and Bertis.  Madeline finally had to wake up Lee and her children.  Unfortunately J.R. was sick at his stomach during the night.  He was bright eyed this morning.  Madeline went to the store to get some meds just in case--always good to have our Parish Nurse on duty!

When we began to roll beds into the hallway J.R. got busy too and helped Katie Sue roll beds--he is an enthusiastic little boy and actually provides good help as well as a lot of smiles!

The truck arrived and everything was it was a quick load.  Putting away the things that our ours, and sorting the dirty laundry for Sarah and Robbie, Zanne, Marie and Tim and Debbie, cleaning the refrigerator, making sure the Youth Rooms are back in order all went quickly and well because we had such great help.  And because we now have storage in the closets right in the Pit!

Madeline, back from the store, drove Lee, Kawani, J.R. and Zanora (ZZ) to the IHN Day Center.  All the goodies from the refrigerator were loaded into the van and off they went.  Madeline discovered that only half the car seats were in working order and wisely took the non-functional ones into the office.  She has seen too many accidents with children going through windshields and windows to let that go by without action--thanks Maddie!  Lee got everything put away in the kitchen while Madeline worked on car seats.

The Take Down crew finished and got everything back in its place, and the keys returned to Roger.  Great crew means light work!

Maggie and Cynthia were the Day Center hosts this afternoon.  Lee's Dad picked up her and the children and they had nice family time--and even got to see their grandfather/great-grandfather.  What a treat for him!   Lee said she had hoped to get a nap--but guess what, she wasn't able to do that!  With a 5, 3 and 1 year old is that a surprise?  She doesn't start her new job until Thursday, so hopefully she will get some rest the first of the week when the children are in school and day-care.  She had such wonderful things to say about the FPC/CCI volunteers--now that is not a surprise!

I (Kitty) was the van driver and when I got to the Day Center the children had Maggie and Cynthia very engaged.  The guests got in the van for a short ride to Emanuel Episcopal and we walked up and up and up to their lovely, newly renovated IHN quarters.  Their volunteers immediately were smitten with ZZ and the boys were thrilled with their playground.  It will be a good week!

Please keep Lee in your prayers as she begins her new job.  One of our volunteers was so impressed with her that he contacted someone he knows who works with the organization and put in a good word for her.  And very importantly she is a very good Mom!  Keep the children in your prayers...yesterday one of the little boys asked "do we move today?".  I thought how much I take living in one place for granted.  While moving weekly isn't ideal, the families are provided with a safe, comfortable place to stay and are surrounded by caring people--and get good food, and clean sheets and towels, and are driven to and fro with care.  THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR A VERY GOOD WEEK.  It is not every week that there's a birthday celebrate.  The birthday girl's last little bit of cake--and balloons and hats went with her--and the family took wonderful memories of her first birthday.

God bless you one and all.  Our next Host Week is OCTOBER 19 -  26th.  It is our last one for 2014.  Hope to see you then!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

IHN, Saturday August 9, 2014

Not quite as early on Saturday morning, Ed and Kitty K made sure Lee's family  was up and led them upstairs for a real treat in Fellowship Hall.  Breakfast, lovingly prepared by Daryl with help from David.  It is an amazing feast and a wonderful gift for the guests and volunteers.  Lee said that her boys really ate a lot!  And everyone enjoyed it.

Ed extended his volunteer time by driving the van to the IHN Day Center.

Kitty D was the On-Site coordinator and put clean sheets on the host beds.  It is such a treat to just walk to the closet and select what is needed instead of having to go through bins!  Thanks again Kim and FPC Youth for sharing!

Kitty also was the afternoon Van driver.  Lee and the children were ready to roll and all were in good spirits.

David, back again for the third time this week...this time as Evening Host, was waiting when we got to the parking area.  We stripped the beds from the second family's room, with the help of Kawami and J.R. to get a head start on Take Down tomorrow.  They had fun jumping on the beds--but David and I didn't join in!

Ira, the other Evening Host arrived and immediately hit it off with the children.

Katherine, Bertis, Addie and Eliza brought dinner--Addie's favorite meal.  While they were setting up Eliza played games with the boys and the rest of us played "pass the baby" with sweet ZZ, she is a doll and so cuddly.

Ira and David set the table with help from Addie.

Dinner was a lovely pasta with sausage, broccoli, and parmesan--all in separate bowls to suit the taste of all the diners.  Also a large bowl of honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon.  Everyone filled their plate and dug in with delight.  Dessert was ice cream--and there was still a little birthday cake left (before dinner was served that is).  One ballon was still holding up nicely.  Lee showed me the photos that Jayne had printed and brought to her.  It was fun looking at everyone having such fun at the birthday party.

Overnight Hosts are Madeline and Winston.  Another good IHN host week is drawing to a close.

God bless you every one!