PLAINFIELD, NJ - Homefirst Inc.’s  Young Moms Club was front and center earlier this month at a Greater Union County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America event held at Jerseyland Park in Scotch Plains. The Plainfield-based nonprofit agency was presented with a host of donated baby care items to provide to the families Homefirst serves.

The Young Moms Club, a Homefirst Inc. program, connects young mothers to each other and parenting support services. The program provides weekly parent and child enrichment activities lead by volunteers.  It also has a Moms’ Essential Basket Creation & Donation component, wherein volunteers are encouraged to create a basket or drop off items that can be packaged full of the essential items every mother needs—diapers, baby wipes, baby food, laundry detergent, bottles.

“We are extremely grateful to organizations like Jack and Jill for their generosity and thoughtfulness. Their conscious generosity allows Homefirst to continue our work of empowering families,” said Jackie Crespo.  “I partner with parents to help them build upon their strengths and become resilient and self-sufficient. Homefirst empowers parents and youth by giving them the support and services needed to enable them to achieve self-sufficiency,” she explained. “New partners like Jack and Jill help us further our reach and are needed, welcomed and appreciated.”

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“The cornerstone of our work is to provide the homeless with a permanent home creating a stable foundation for each family,” said Ellen McGovern, executive director of Homefirst, Inc. “Once a family is placed in safe, decent housing they can afford – Homefirst is able to coordinate service delivery along a continuum of care that includes health care, financial planning, education, quality childcare and other support programs aimed at expanding opportunities,” she added.

Through its Family Success Center, the organization provides programs that focus on parent/child strengthening, financial literacy, employment readiness, and health and wellness.  Homefirst also advocates for youth through their Youth Success Center. This program empowers youth to transition into adulthood while building strong peer relationships. Topics of nutrition, healthy eating and cooking are also a concern of the organization. Homefirst developed two community gardens in Plainfield and Scotch Plains that in 2013 produced an excess of 850 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs that were distributed to 150 families in need.

“We are a small staff and rely heavily on our partners and volunteers like Jack and Jill for support,” McGovern noted. The organization partners with religious congregations, community groups, service clubs, local businesses, foundations, government agencies, and private citizens in and around the Union County area that support their mission.

As a result of these partnerships, Homefirst created an annual event entitled, “An Evening of Thanks” to give recognition to the volunteers and partners who tirelessly help families in the community and to raise awareness and resources in support of the Homefirst mission and essential services and programs.

This year’s  “An Evening of Thanks” will be held on October 30, 2014 at 6pm at the Galloping Hill Golf Club in Kenilworth, NJ. For more information about this event and how you can support it contact Kathy Higgins at Kathy@homefirstinc.org or visit www.homefirstinc.org.