Interfaith Hospitality Network

Have you ever passed a homeless person and wondered, “What in the world can I do?” In 1982, New Jersey business woman Karen Olson faced this same question and purchased an extra sandwich at lunch. Karen sat on the sidewalk with Millie to listen to her story. Soon, Karen and her two sons began delivering lunches to homeless people on the streets of New York. In 1986, Karen approached the religious community to offer hospitality space within their buildings. In 1988, the National Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) was formed across the US. Programs for transitional housing, childcare and homelessness prevention were developed.

In 2005, First Baptist Church Greenville housed their first IHN families.

What in the world can you do? First, get on our email list. Every time we house families, our volunteers sign up online to do one or more of many available jobs. You’ll receive updates and information on what is needed and how you can help. Email or talk to me (mary@pyett.net) or Laura Stout (laura.stout@firstbaptistgreenville.com). Secondly, join us on Sunday, January 20, right after church for an orientation. We’ll be setting up in the hallway outside the Practice Gym (one floor below the Fellowship Hall) at 11:30am, turning classrooms into bedrooms and living areas for our guests.

Locally in the past year, ten IHN families moved into permanent housing, two families are working towards Habitat Homes, and three families, if they stay on track with their financial plan, will qualify for a mortgage at the time of their program completion.

Thank you to all who have helped us care for these families over the last thirteen years.

— Mary Pyett