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Get involved to help the homeless
Guest column

Family Promise of Bryan County is steam-rolling forward. This month alone, it has received more than $8,000 in donations.
Christy Cox, with United Way, donated $4,000 to the worthy cause of providing shelter to Bryan County’s homeless. Lesley Francis, president of the Richmond Hill Rotary Club, presented Family Promise with a check for $2,000 to be used to buy beds for families in need. Another anonymous donation of $2,000 recently was generously given. Richmond Hill United Methodist Church donated a van to be used to pick up families for school and day-center travel.
Family Promise still is in its early stages of development, but is moving forward quickly. We are looking for a building to be used for the day center. This may be a donated building or one in which we rent. We ask anyone with any knowledge or ideas for finding such a building to please contact the chairman of the executive board, Shane Gray, at 912-398-0669.
As soon as the day center is acquired, Family Promise can start accepting families immediately. Family Promise is a 501(c) nonprofit, faith-based organization that, with the help of local community churches, provides housing for the homeless. The families stay in one church for a week and then move to the next church. During the day, the children are taken to school, while the parents go to the day center.
While at the day center, the adults will be taught resume building, job skills, finance management and overall self-esteem building tools that they may regain their independence and rebuild their lives and homes. They will be assisted in finding jobs and many other aspects of rebuilding their lives anew.
Many in Bryan County are not aware of the homeless situation within our own community, and that in itself is a tragedy. Most people think of homeless as people living in the woods or under bridges. Many believe homeless people wish to be homeless, that they have chosen this lifestyle. This is so untrue on so many levels.
Family Promise helps families who want help and need help in getting back up after being knocked down. Many of the families in need are living in motels from day to day, or staying at friends’ houses for a while, then moving on to the next friend.
There currently are 66 children in the Bryan County School System considered homeless.
They are not living in the woods or under bridges. They desperately need the help of the community in which they live. Some of these families are former military who leave the service and have trouble finding jobs. Some are families stricken with cancer and outrageous medical needs while not able to work.
Some have been laid off and can’t find work. The main point is these families once were successful happy families who have been torn down through overwhelming problems. That is where Family Promise and local churches come in. Along with the community and partnerships with local organizations such as the Rotary, United way, Bryan County Family Connection and Bryan Masonic Lodge, we can come together to rebuild these families.
Whether you live in Richmond Hill or Pembroke, those who have lived here for a long time know that we are a community that takes care of our own.
For the many new members of our community, you have probably moved here for the small town fellowship that we have to offer.
Either way, we are all a part of one of the greatest communities in Georgia. That is proven by the outstanding support Family Promise has received within the community. The military families who live here are blessed to be part of such a tight-knit military family that we call home. Most residents can’t walk out their doors and not see a neighbor who is military. The sad part is that some of these military families are homeless. Soldiers from Hunter Army Airfield presented Family Promise and Bryan Lodge 303 with many truckloads of clothes for the December clothing drive, which was a huge success.
Many of us today live paycheck to paycheck. If you lost your job or became sick how long could you last before you too were homeless? The answer for many of us is not long.
That is why it is so important to support Family Promise. One day, it may be your family or your loved ones on the receiving end. Also, Family Promise helps people get off of government subsidies, which helps everyone. We make the family self-sufficient again.
If this has touched your heart, and I hope it has, please contact Shane Gray at 912-398-0669 or email or Candice Stewart-Fife at (912) 341-7616 or email to get involved. We need volunteers and financial support.

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