By Kathy L. Collins
On Sunday, April 21, the Family Promise of Greater Brandon, a non-profit organization of local Christian churches committed to helping homeless children and their families, celebrated one of many milestones in the organization’s quest to become a reality. Founding churches, members of the board and volunteers gathered for the ribbon-cutting on its new Day Center which will one day be the home address for homeless families living in the area.
The Day Center, when opened, will serve as the families’ permanent address which will assist with enrolling children in school, getting and maintaining a bank account and finding a job.
Family Promise is a nationwide organization with member networks operating in 41 states and the District of Columbia. There are five key components in each Family Promise network. These include Hosts (hosting rotates weekly among 10 to 12 congregations); Day Center (facility is used as a place to conduct job searches, take showers, do laundry and have a permanent address); Volunteers; Social Service Agencies; and Transportation.
The Family Promise of Greater Brandon has been working hard to establish a network here in the community. The founding churches are First Presbyterian of Brandon, First United Methodist and St. Andrews United Methodist. Other churches who have signed on to be a host congregation are Brandon Christian Church, Limona Village Methodist, Bay Life Church and Westminster Presbyterian.
According to Diana Pollard, an active volunteer and Representative of Family Promise of Greater Brandon, “We need to have at least four more churches sign on before we can open the doors and begin helping three to four homeless families.”
According to Deborah Humphrey, President of the Board of Directors, “This is a way to serve homeless children. It also allows the homeless family to stay together.” Humphrey added, “Family Promise has an 80 percent success rate nationwide at moving families to permanent housing.” The average length of time in the system is 68 days according to Humphrey.
If you would like to help homeless families in the area regain their housing, independence and dignity, then please visit www.familypromiseofgreaterbrandon.org to donate or see how you can help.