For more information about Family Promise of Bryan County, call (912) 341-7616 or visit www.familypromisebryancounty.org.
Another fundraiser for Family Promise of Bryan County was music to Candice Stewart-Fife’s ears.
Local musicians performed for six hours Saturday in Family Promise’s Christian music festival at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church. The proceeds will help the organization toward its goal of helping homeless families in Bryan County get back on their feet.
“God has truly moved with this event. It is awesome,” said Stewart-Fife, the fund development and public relations chairwoman for Family Promise of Bryan County.
The music festival was the latest fundraiser for Family Promise in the community. Others included a kids’ crabbing tournament at Fort McAllister Marina, a back-to-school dance party at Life Moves Dance Studio and the Friday on the Train entertainment series presented by The Suites at Station Exchange.
Another is set for next month. Family Promise’s second annual Bedspread Derby, a fun day of local churches, businesses, organizations and clubs racing beds on wheels, will be held Nov. 7 at First Baptist Church Richmond Hill.
“It’s showing the community is coming together to help this organization come alive,” Stewart-Fife said. “It’s a team effort.”
Family Promise of Bryan County also is in the midst of its “Building Lives” campaign to raise $150,000 by the end of this year. Sponsorships range from the Diamond level of $10,000 to a 297 donor, meaning a $297 contribution that can house and feed a family of four for 10 days in the Family Promise program.
Family Promise helps homeless and low-income families become financially stable, secure long-term housing and live independently. The Bryan County chapter is on target to be up and running in January, according to Stewart-Fife.
“We are extremely close,” she said. “We’re going to be able to help these families gain stability and be able to just give them the different services they may need.”
Along with raising money, Family Promise is raising awareness of homelessness in Bryan County. Many people simply don’t understand how many homeless families are in their community, Stewart-Fife said.
District officials have identified 95 children in Bryan County Schools as homeless, according to Stewart-Fife.
“Unfortunately, not everybody realizes it yet,” she said. “When I do different speaking engagements or when I talk to individuals about it, the first thing they say is, ‘We have homeless here in Bryan County?’ Yeah, we do.”
Family Promise provides temporary housing through a network of churches that host families for a week at a time. The church serves the family dinner each night and gives them a place to sleep, with Family Promise providing the beds.
A number of churches in Bryan County have agreed to serve as host churches, Stewart-Fife said, and she is looking for two more to commit.
The families are not at the host church during the day, though. The children attend school, and the adults spend the day at their job or at the Family Promise day center.
The Bryan County chapter is in the process of securing a building for the day center, which provides the families showers, closet space and an office area to look for employment or fill out housing applications. A social worker is assigned to each family to offer guidance and monitor progress.
Other Family Promise services include providing transportation to and from the day center and taking referrals from social service agencies. Those agencies also may help families find housing, jobs and benefits.
“We’re trying to help here at home, within our community,” Stewart-Fife said. “We’re pouring back into the community, and that’s what is important.”
Along with the need for host churches and financial donors, Family Promise always welcomes volunteers who are willing to lend a hand in some way.
“Anything that you think that can help, please give us a call,” Stewart-Fife said.