Our Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Kay Portaro, serves both on our staff team and as a volunteer Host Family and Ministry Coordinator at her church, LIFE Fellowship Church. Mary Kay and her family have nurtured a long-term relationship with the little girl who they hosted years ago and with her family.


Thoughts from Mary Kay:

"As I sat down for lunch with this sweet girl today, I couldn't help but reflect on the journey we've been on over the years. Our journey began five years ago when she entered our lives through Alongside Families at not even 2 years old. Over the past 5 years, we became a village for her and her mother. Their anchors, their support system, their family. We celebrated birthdays, holidays, and everyday triumphs together.

As we chatted about school, her friends, and her latest favorite princess, I marveled at how far she had come. While she may not be mine in the legal sense, she will forever hold a special place in my heart. Our bond, forged through countless shared moments and unwavering love, will remain unbreakable.

Alongside Families is about providing a safe harbor when it's needed most. It's about nurturing, guiding, and loving a child, whether they stay with you for a few months or a few days. Our journey with this little girl has been a profound lesson in the meaning of family, selflessness, and the extraordinary capacity of the human heart.

As I hugged her tightly at the end of our lunch, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the role we played in her life. It has truly been one of the hardest yet most rewarding journeys of my life... to love a child SO much and yet not have them as your own."

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10