There are 45 children attending Bryan County schools who officials know have no home to go to when the final bell rings at the end of the day.
What’s more, there are scant resources available to help those children and their families, and New Life Church Pastor Ryan Ogden said current efforts to help are a bit “like trying to put a Band-Aid on a broken leg.”
“We see a lot of people come through the churches here that need help,” he said. “There are families living in motels and hotels and we want to help them … and we each do what we can, but there has to be something a little more substantial we can do — something that will have a more lasting effect on families rather than helping them for a day or two here and there.”
That’s where Family Promise comes in, according to pastors such as Ogden and Bryan County Family Connections Director Wendy Sims.
So far, several churches and about 60 people showed enough interest in the national faith-based initiative to attend an Oct. 29 meeting at Richmond Hill United Methodist Church. A follow-up meeting is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at New Life Church in Richmond Hill.
The public is not only invited but encouraged to attend the second meeting to learn more about the program, which gives homeless families both shelter and the opportunity to get back on their feet through various means.
It’s no quick fix, however.
Family Promise works over a 13-week period by using existing resources to provide the help — churches provide shelter, congregations act as volunteers and social service agencies screen families, according to literature provided by Sims.
But typically, it takes between 18-24 months just to set the program up and get it running, though Sims believes it can be done faster.
“I think we can do better than that,” she said. “We’re kind of over-achievers here."
Read more in the Nov. 6 edition of the News.