Family tea party to raise funds for Housing Transitions and Centre House Homeless Shelter

Housing Transitions will host its first Family Tea Party on Feb. 12. The event will feature book readings, crafts and more.
Housing Transitions will host its first Family Tea Party on Feb. 12. The event will feature book readings, crafts and more. Photo provided

A family tea party will be held Feb. 12 at St. Joseph’s Academy in Boalsburg to benefit Housing Transitions and Centre House Homeless Shelter. The party will include donated and catered tea and food, a craft station and theatrical storybook readings.

Established in 1984, Housing Transitions is a nonprofit organization serving Centre County residents who are facing some type of housing crisis. Services offered include housing case management, transitional housing programs, adult services case management and permanent supportive housing for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness.

“Centre House is the only shelter in our area that serves men and women, as well as children and their families that is open 24/7,” said Kristen Koshko, development and community relations coordinator for Housing Transitions. “Centre House is maintained as a modestly comfortable and secure home for people without shelter who are working with case managers to solve their housing issues.”

Housing Transition’s mission is to help people — families and individuals — achieve a more independent and sustainable life style. They know that housing issues can stem from a variety of personal crises and a lack of good intervention resources.

“We offer a continuum of services designed to support individuals and families each step of the way, from homelessness and housing insecurity to stable and sustainable living solutions,” said Morgan Wasikonis, who is the director of Housing Transitions. “The shelter is the first step, followed by our transitional and permanent supportive housing for some, and stepping straight into stable housing with the guidance of a housing case manager for others.”

Food for the family tea party will be donated by Catering with Style by Dan Rallis, with tea and cookies donated by Trader Joe’s and Wegmans donating a gift card that will be used for the juice, napkins, milk, sugar and any other items that are needed for a royal tea party.

The students at St. Joseph’s are providing the entertainment — a drama class will be doing theatrical readings of children’s books, and at the craft table, kids will make paper hats and bracelets.

“Once everyone is settled in we will speak for a few brief minutes about our agency and what it is that we do,” Koshko said. “We will thank our sponsors, and then the amazing students at St. Joseph’s Academy will provide the entertainment, as they will perform theatrical story book readings while everyone enjoys their tea and food. Once the performances conclude, then the kids can go to the craft table where they can make hats and bracelets.”

This is the first time the organization has put on a family tea party, and Koshko said they are looking forward to a fun afternoon with their family and friends.

“We wanted to come up with a community event that was family oriented,” Koshko said. “This event was designed to raise money for Housing Transitions, but also as a community builder that would bring families together and get our mission out to people. The response we have been receiving from people is one of excitement. If it goes well, we will definitely do it again.”

Centre House is largely funded through community and private foundation funding. While their other programs receive some public funding, Centre House shelter receives very little, Wasikonis said.

“The support we get from fundraisers like this, private and corporate donations, and the Centre County United Way, helps us have the flexibility to meet the clients where they are at and provide the time and tools necessary for them to move on to brighter, more hopeful days,” Wasikonis said. “We hope this event will raise funds for Centre House, but also raise awareness and an understanding that any of our neighbors can fall on tough times, and that our community is willing to help get them back on their feet.”

Tickets for the event should be purchased in advance at www.housingtransitions.org/ family-tea-party.