A Letter from Our Director
Dear Friends of St. Francis,My name is Kimberly Lemman and I have had the privilege of being the Executive Director of St. Francis Shelter for homeless families since May 2011. As you may know, St. Francis has 20 apartment units to provide temporary shelter for homeless families as well as a number of rental apartments that offer low income housing for people in our community who are living on limited incomes. In the past year, St. Francis was home to 43 families with 68 children.2011 has been amazing year for St. Francis. We have gone from being an all volunteer organization to hiring a full-time Executive Director. We have also experienced many changes from physical improvements to our building, to providing more and better resources to our clients, to renewing our sense of hope and optimism in our mission. These changes will allow us to better serve the needs of one of the most vulnerable populations in our community… our children.
Each family that comes to St. Francis has their own story, their individual history, but there are many common themes. Domestic violence. Neglect or drug use on the part of their own parents. The last financial “straw” in a tough economy that brought them to homelessness.
But let me tell you, the people we serve are amazing. Their desire to improve their lives and the lives of their children, their indomitable spirits, and their desire to pick themselves up from trauma and tragedy and begin again amazes me. Working alongside them has changed me. I no longer take simple tasks or acts for granted. Driving to the store in my car for groceries, mailing a letter from my home or buying a coat for my child when the weather turns cold; each of these everyday tasks are easier for me than for the families at St. Francis . I no longer see homeless families as simply a sad and unfortunate reality of our society… but as individuals. These people have a face and a name and a voice. I talk to them each day. I know their stories, their fears and their joys. They are women raising their children, just like I am. They are not so different than I me. They were simply born into a different set of circumstances. They were not born into a family like mine. They did not have a mother like mine to raise them. They were born into a much more challenging journey on this earth, and they need our help, they need us to walk along beside them for a while.
I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the families at St. Francis Shelter. I am proud to be part of this humble organization that has so quietly served families in need for so many years. Please join us in continuing our mission, to provide a safe place for our families to live while they get back on their feet, and most especially to give our children in this community a place to call home.
Wishing blessings to you and your families