Footage of Core Group Meeting at Gateway Community Church of Effingham
Family Promise (aka Interfaith Hospitality Network) is a national organization that encourages communities to come to the aid of their homeless families (those served must have children), by partnering all faiths to provide temporary shelter, food and counseling toward financial independence.
Their model has four components:
Host Congregations – congregations who commit to hosting families in their church buildings Sunday evening through Sunday morning (one week) each quarter. The families arrive with their break-down beds Sunday evening, leave each morning to search for work or go to the Day Center, and return each evening for supper and to sleep. These congregations provide supper and breakfast for the families during their stay, and volunteers spend the night with the families that week.
Day Center – a private, secure facility where families can shower, leave their belongings in closets and use office areas during the day to search for employment.
Transportation – a bus or van that transports families from the churches to the Day Center or work, or children to school (children continue to attend their assigned school during the 3-month rotation, and may also catch a county bus to school). Fundraising – committee organized to seek funding from the community. Family Promise was introduced in Effingham County in December, 2012. The first meeting was held at the old Springfield courthouse in January 2013 to determine the level of interest in pursuing this solution. Over 100 people, representing more than 30 churches were in attendance, and it was decided our community would go forward in creating our own Family Promise. The next meeting was held in February at Faith Presbyterian (the only church in Effingham currently part of a Family Promise), and a core group of committees was identified (components above).
At the March meeting (held at Guyton United Methodist), all attendees chose a committee to serve on and specific plans were made to recruit host congregations, look for Day Center possibilities, and transportation opportunities. The fundraising committee agreed to pursue 501(c)3 status for the local organization and formally incorporate. Committee heads were chosen and agreed to meet every two weeks to discuss progress. The official name of our local organization became “Family Promise of Effingham, Inc.”
At the April committee head meeting, Fundraising reported that a reputable lawyer and CPA had offered to complete the paperwork for 501(c)3 and incorporation status for the group at no charge, and would have it completed in two weeks. The Day Center committee had identified two potential buildings and was going to meet with realtors to get more details on their availability. Host congregation recruitment had invited two additional larger churches from the community to come to the next meeting and get involved.
The Core Group meeting that is shown in the video below was the Tuesday, April 23rd meeting at Gateway Community Church in Rincon. A panel of three members who are and have been directly involved with Family Promise in the past were the ones in charge of fielding questions from the audience. They were Reverend Mary Beene (Faith Presbyterian Church, Rincon), Pastor Daryl Brown (Guyton United Methodist Church), and LaVanda Brown (Family Promise of Chatham County – Day Center Director). All denominations and community leaders were welcome and encouraged to attend.