LAURENS, SOUTH CAROLINA – This week, Family Promise of Laurens County celebrated the grand opening of its Day Center which will serve families at risk of homelessness. Members of the Family Promise of Laurens County Board of Trustees, local congregations, Belk, and the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce were on hand for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting and tour of the new Day Center.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet Naomi Broadway, the inaugural program director, and heard from representatives from Family Promise and Belk about the importance and effectiveness of the Family Promise approach to fighting family homelessness.
Today in America, 1 in 19 children will experience homelessness before they enter the first grade. That’s one child in every kindergarten classroom. Family homelessness is an unseen crisis; families lose housing after an unforeseen expense or other emergency, and end up living in their cars or with friends.
“We have been working on bringing this vision to fruition for a long time,” said Steve Hobbs, chairman of the Family Promise Board of Trustees in Laurens. “We wouldn’t be here without the support of our churches and donors, so we want everyone to come out and celebrate this launch with us.”
Family Promise of Laurens County, who utilizes congregational space and partners to provide services for families, is prepared to host its first family the week of February 16 at the First Baptist Church. A large group of volunteers has received training, and preparations are underway. At present, the Laurens Chapter has 12 congregations signed on to support the initiative.
“We are off to a great start,” said Broadway, “but we will always need more volunteers. They are the lifeblood of the program.”
There are many ways to contribute. Volunteers are needed to set up rooms; make meals; help with homework; wash bed linens and coordinate donations, just to name a few common needs.
“More than 200,000 committed volunteers in 200 communities in 43 states contribute to Family Promise’s mission of supporting families,” said Cara Bradshaw, chief impact officer of the national organization. “And we couldn’t do it without local partnerships, host congregations, civic organizations, and corporate partners like Belk.”
Belk’s partnership with Family Promise will support families in its 16-state footprint and bring 10 new Family Promise Affiliates to communities across the South. Laurens is the first launch. Together, these new Affiliates will engage roughly 10,000 volunteers to help provide shelter, rental assistance, workforce development, financial training, childcare and more to nearly 2,000 homeless and low-income family members each year.
ABOUT FAMILY PROMISE
Family Promise envisions a nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future. What began as a local initiative in Summit, NJ, has become a national movement that involves 200,000 volunteers and served more than 125,000 family members in 2018. Family Promise will change the future for 1 million children by 2030.