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Published on December 30th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Family Promise begins operating in the Midlands

After more than two years of planning, fund raising and hard work, Family Promise of the Midlands is now serving homeless families in time for Christmas.

The first family to enter the program spent the week of Dec. 8 at Shandon Presbyterian Church.  The following week, they were at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in downtown Columbia.  Christmas week, they are at Redeemer Lutheran Church on St. Andrews Road.

“We are off to a great start,” said Executive Director Kathleen McLean-Titus.  “There is a great need for Family Promise in the Midlands, and our host congregations certainly are living up to the spirit of this Christmas season,” she added.

Fifteen area houses of worship are participating in the program.  As part of the Family Promise initiative, homeless families spend the night in Sunday school classrooms and unused space.   Each morning, participants head off to work, school or the Family Promise Day Center at Heyward Street United Methodist Church.  Each Sunday, the families rotate to another church.

“Throughout the week, I witnessed Christ in the volunteers who lovingly set up the bedrooms, in the family we hosted, in the meals that were prepared and served, in the volunteers who spent the night, in those who transported our family members to the church and in the care of our director,” said Tracey Waltz, one of the Family Promise coordinators at Shandon Presbyterian.

The affiliate’s most pressing need now is for a truck or enclosed trailer in which to haul beds and belongings from one host congregation to the next. The ideal solution would be an 18-foot truck with a lift or pull-out ramps on the back. Second-best would be an 18-foot, v-shaped, enclosed, lockable trailer with a pull-down back door that doubles as a ramp. Neither the truck nor the trailer needs to be new, and the 501c3 organization can provide a receipt for an in-kind donation.

Family Promise has more than 180 affiliates across the country, including seven in South Carolina.

Participants in the program are screened by a fulltime executive director and must be actively seeking permanent housing.  Nationally, 80 percent of the families successfully move on to permanent housing.

To learn more about Family Promise of the Midlands and how you can help, visit its website at www.familypromisemidlands.org.

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