Friends of Families in Transition

Friends of Families in Transition is a non profit organization that serves as a contact point for families dealing with housing crises and for community groups needing advice on how to best guide families who are either 1)struggling to maintain housing or 2) are in need of emergency housing assistance. Organizational leaders are also actively engaged in an effort to empower low income families to become financially independent, partnering with the Worcester Area Mission Society’s Sustainable Massachusetts Initiative.

Friends of FIT was first formed in 2011 in response to the needs of families living in emergency motel shelter in Northborough, MA. Soon thereafter the organization was contracted by the State of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to assist with coordination of community services at several other motel shelter sites. At the height of the housing crisis that resulted in as many as 2000 families being sheltered at motels, Friends of FIT served as a state-wide model for communities who wanted to deliver services to these families both compassionately and effectively.

As the number of families being placed in motel shelter has gone down significantly due to a concerted effort on the part of DHCD, Friends of FIT has continued to support individual families, working closely with the churches and community groups that families in crisis often turn to for guidance.

Services

Serve as a common point of contact between families and the local and state agencies whose services they need to access.

Provide individual family support as needed, including acting as an information resource/ triage agent for families struggling with maintaining housing or contemplating entry into the Emergency Assistance program.

Work with individuals, groups, and organizations to provide emergency food for families arriving at a motel shelter without food or food stamps.

Coordinate access to services for families staying in motel shelter, including arranging access to the local food pantry,  arranging for home cooked meals on a scheduled basis and providing regular trips to the grocery store.

Distribute personal care items including shampoo, diapers, wipes, formula and other child/baby items as needed and available to families directly and/or to agencies providing social services to families .

Arrange and coordinate social events such as  holiday parties/ meals, recreational outings, play groups, etc. for families living in motel shelter

Work with School departments to ensure that children in motel shelter have equal access to education and/or special education.

Provide leadership and proactively respond to systematic issues and policies that impact families in transition.

 

You Can Help

Friends of Families in Transition relies on corporations, non-profit organizations, community groups, and individuals for all aspects of our work. It is important for our volunteers to understand that everything they do for us makes an important impact and that the safety and privacy of the families we serve comes before anything else (please see our Volunteer Policies).

Regardless of  how you participate, your help will ensure that struggling families/ children are given opportunities that help them to thrive.

Here are the ways you can help:

freinds of fit transportationJoin the Transportation Team:  At some of the shelter motels, Friends of FIT provides rides to the local train station, grocery store, food pantry, school meeting, and medical and housing appointments. This is great way to get involved without a big commitment. Simply ask to have your name added to the Transportation e-mail list. When an e-mail request is sent out , please only respond if you are able to cover that transport need. If you are interested in joining the group or would like to learn more please contact us at friendsoffit@aol.com.

Provide a home-cooked meal: Our goal is to provide at least one home-cooked meal per week to each Friends of FIT family that signs up to receive one. Our volunteer coordinators work with groups to establish a schedule. Please contact friendsoffit@aol.com for more information, and see our Guidelines for Preparing Meals.freinds of fit meal making

Host a Social Event: Invite families to join your group for dinner, an ice cream social, board game night, etc. at a local community center. Motel living is very challenging and families need a break from the four walls of the shelter room where they can enjoy some fun, family time.

Fundraising and Supply Drives: Host a drive and/or fundraiser for much needed Ongoing items or for Seasonal items. Visit our WISH  LIST for ideas and items.

Host a Bag Stuffing party: Host a fun, team-building event with your friends, troop, colleagues or family in the comfort of your school, community center, home or office. Visit our listing of ONGOING AND SEASONAL BAG NEEDS for more information.

Become a Volunteer Coordinator. At times we are in need of additional volunteer coordinators. Email friendsoffit@aol.com to learn more about this volunteer position.