Media Contact:
Jessica Rood
Director of Development, Interfaith Family Services
Phone: (469) 828-1833
Email: jrood@interfaithdallas.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FORMERLY HOMELESS MOM RECEIVES SURPRISE HOMEMAKER AT 5TH ANNUAL AUXILIARY LUNCHEON | DALLAS, TEXAS

Shalonda Stewart, a hardworking formerly homeless mother of two, received the surprise of a lifetime at the 5th Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon. On Friday, March 6th Interfaith Family Services celebrated 35 years of empowering families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty along with over 300 guests and a dozen companies at the Belo Mansion. Interfaith partnered with CORT Furniture to provide a home makeover for graduate Shalonda Stewart and her two children, ages 7 and 10, to honor the family’s hard work. The audience and even keynote speaker Jen Hatmaker were moved to tears by Shalonda’s testimony of how a 35-day government shutdown propelled her family into homelessness. Shalonda herself was then moved to tears of joy as she watched a video of the gorgeous home makeover that took place just one day prior. Two-time New York Times Best Selling Author Jen Hatmaker took to the podium with a hilarious yet heartwarming message, likening Interfaith Family Services – it’s staff, volunteers, and donors – to a pack of elephants in the wild: “These families are the definition of vulnerable, and Interfaith is like a shield around them, protecting their hope and possibility. There is great power in your pack, and you are teaching these families how to do it right so one day they’ll take their place in formation and pass it on.” VIP guests were escorted to the foyer of the Belo Mansion and enjoyed a lovely wine reception and photos with Jen Hatmaker.

Event co-chairs Sarah Klein, Emily Miller, and Amanda Nobles, and Honorary Chairs Kacy and Carter Tolleson, could not be more pleased that guests and underwriters raised over $248,000 including over $33,000 in day-of donations. Sponsors included The Tolleson Family, The Katy and Kyle Miller Family Foundation, Tolleson Wealth Management, The Hegi Family, Jill and Grant Henderson, and the Sapphire Foundation. Interfaith continues to employ its holistic approach to address the root causes of family poverty to produce remarkable results. This accountability-driven and work-based program will ensure that 200 homeless and at-risk families receive the tools they need to be self-sufficient in the next year. The need for their services could not be greater as 28.8% of Dallas families with children currently live in poverty.

ABOUT INTERFAITH FAMILY SERVICES

For 35 years, Interfaith Family Services has been a leading resource for working poor families and a haven for homeless children who long for stability and hope. Today, their mission is to become Dallas’ solution to poverty by expanding resources to residential and non-residential clients as well. Their new Family Empowerment Center houses all programming modeled to eliminate the barriers that keep families in crisis from achieving stability. Services include rent and utility assistance, GED/ ESL and vocational training, extended-hours childcare to clients who are currently unemployed, financial coaching to reduce debt and increase savings, and career coaching to develop clients professionally – all at no cost to families. For families who are homeless, Interfaith Family Services owns 23 lovingly decorated and fully furnished apartments that provide transitional housing for 6-9 months. They work simultaneously to educate and equip children through the Hope & Horizons Program; this special program is modeled to stabilize at-risk children through a combination of arts and crafts that emphasize creativity, play therapy to address emotional and social issues, individualized tutoring to address common academic gaps, and field trips & camps that expose children to the larger world. The program also includes a self-care and wellness component to help families develop and maintain healthy habits. This holistic combination of services produces results that elevate entire families out of poverty. 93% of our families’ transition to permanent housing, 79% create a savings safety net with $2,867.85 on average in savings, and 94% of graduates maintain employment one year later. For more information on ways to get involved with Interfaith Family Services, contact Jessica Rood, Director of Development, at jrood@interfaithdallas.org or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.

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