It was understandable for Candice Stewart-Fife to get a bit emotional Monday.
In one ceremony, her organization, Family Promise of Bryan County, had the open house for its new day center on Ford Avenue in Richmond Hill and accepted the first half of a $15,000 grant from United Way in its efforts to help homeless and low-income families.
Stewart-Fife, Family Promise’s chairwoman of fund development and public relations, addressed the crowd in front of the house shortly after Family Promise President Jason Anderson accepted the grant check from Gregg Schroeder, the president and CEO of United Way of the Coastal Empire.
While waving her hand in front of her face in an effort to dry welling tears, Stewart-Fife expressed her gratitude.
“This is a long time coming for a lot of people that have been working on this for two years,” she said. “I just thank God for those who took part in this and thank you. You’re going to help a lot of kids.”
The day center, at 10695 Ford Ave., will have a social worker and Interfaith Hospitality Network director, according to a news release. The center will be able to be used by family members who need temporary housing. According to Family Promise’s website, the day center will provide guests with a mail address, showers, laundry facilities and more. The goal of Family Promise is to help homeless and low-income families toward stable, independent living.
Stewart-Fife said Tuesday that training and furnishing the facility still need to be completed, and that the target timeframe for the facility welcoming its first family is toward the end of February.
Linking up with United Way is also a good step for Family Promise’s ability to help those in need.
“I think with them doing the direct case work and us having the resources with the 54 agencies behind us, I think it’s really going to make a huge impact on these families, so we are so glad you all are here,” said Kristi Cox, United Way’s Bryan County director.
According to the news release, Family Promise is accepting donations to continue helping families in need and to maintain the day center. The group also is looking to grow its list of churches that host families by serving them dinner and providing places to sleep for up to a week at a time. Stewart-Fife said several churches in the county already are in the network.
“We are so thankful for the help and support we have received from the community this past year. Our fundraisers have been well-received and attended — from the Bedspread Derby to our Christian Music Festival, a kids’ crabbing tournament, back-to-school dance and the Friday on the Train series, they’ve all been wonderful events and incredibly beneficial,” Stewart-Fife said in the news release. “We’re especially grateful to the businesses and entities in the community who have gone to great lengths to help us including Richmond Hill United Methodist Church, Life Moves Dance Studio, the Suites at Station Exchange, First Baptist Church Richmond Hill and Lesley Francis PR. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Stewart-Fife said Tuesday that including the full $15,000 grant, her group has about $65,000 toward its fundraising goal of $150,000. Family Promise is expected to receive the remaining grant amount in about six months.
For more information on the organization or to donate, go to www.familypromisebryan.org.