Verizon's Mark Farley and his family have been volunteering to help homeless families for more than 20 years.

When Mark Farley moved to Chandler, Ariz., in 2006, he had no idea there were 5,000 homeless children in the area.

“Today there are many homeless families due to the economic downturn in America,” Farley said. “They are not the typical person that we think of as homeless. Some are school teachers, firefighters and registered nurses. Children from homeless families who are living on the street or in their cars sit in the same classrooms with our kids, and we don’t even know it.” 

Farley, who says “the Salvation Army saved my life,” is 21 years clean and sober and has been working with homeless families for more than 20 years. It is a family affair with his wife, Tami, of 19 years and his 15 year old daughter, Kai, by his side.

“From the time she could walk, Kai would come with us on our volunteer work,” he said.

Farley said he and his family found out about Family Promise Greater Phoenix through their church in 2010 when they started hosting homeless families, noting,“they get a meal and a place to stay and help in finding work. Whatever they need for the week, I am there for them to help in any way I can. My church hosts families eight times a year.”

Cheryl Chewning, program coordinator of Family Promise Greater Phoenix said,”Mark has a heart of gold and is an amazing human being. He goes above and beyond and would do anything for anybody.”

Family Promise Greater Phoenix is one of 159 Family Promise programs throughout the country temporarily meeting the needs of homeless families. Family Promise has affiliates in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Altogether there are more than 5,000 church congregations and more than 120,000 volunteers who have assisted 140,000 guests since 1988. The parent organization’s website is found at FamilyPromise.org

Farley started the nonprofit Furniture Bank website at furniturebank.us, which supplies everything from bedding to pots and pans to families to help make their house into a home, as well as starting the Ahwatukee Homeless Coalition in 2009. He is a licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor and is currently studying for his bachelor’s degree in Business Management and will graduate from Strayer University in December of this year. And if that’s not enough, he has been asked by his church to become a pastor.

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