We are joining over 200 Family Promise affiliates in 43 states to celebrate Family Promise Week 2020 the week of October 18-25, shining a spotlight on the work that affiliates across the country have been doing to support families experiencing homelessness.
After years of planning, the Laurens County affiliate joined over the Family Promise network, officially opening to host families in February 2020. Our Open House & Ribbon Cutting were very well attended, though it is strange to think about such a large unmasked gathering happening today!
Ribbon cutting ceremony for FPLC Grand Opening on February 11, 2020
As we prepared to open the rotational shelter, over 200 people representing 18 congregations in Laurens County, completed our in-person volunteer training. With COVID-19 being declared a pandemic in early March, we were forced to change plans and adapt. Even so, we brought our first family into shelter in late March and were able to move them into housing by mid-April.
April 2020: The first FPLC guest family outside their new home after signing the lease and receiving keys.
While we worked on finding a static site solution, we hosted another family in hotel shelter in the month of June. They moved into housing at the beginning of July and that month we began hosting using one of our host congregations, Centerpoint Wesleyan Church, as a static site. Our current guests are a family of 6 and have been in the program since mid-July. We owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the congregation at Centerpoint, as well as a handful of volunteers, for covering all of our on-site volunteer needs while they have acted as a static site. Centerpoint will be our static site location until the end of the year and we are still working on plans for what's next in January 2021.
Centerpoint Wesleyan Church at sunset in October 2020
Even though we have had to be more creative in serving families, Family Promise of Laurens County has continued to work with families during this time; in 2020, FPLC has already prepared over 100 meals, donated over 2000 hours of volunteer time, and given thousands of dollars worth of in kind donations to support families in our community so far this year!
Thanks to the generous support of our 25 partner congregations and the Laurens County community, here is a snapshot of what we have been able to accomplish this year so far:
Total families served: 13
Individuals served: 44
Families hosted in congregational shelter: 2
Families hosted in hotel shelter for 1 or more nights: 6
Families supported in preventing eviction: 3
Families who have received in-kind donations such as gift cards, groceries, clothing, supplies, furniture, PPE: 8
Families who have received rental assistance from us: 2
The FPLC family has risen to the challenge of continuing to support community members in need in the face of the pandemic. Since we did not have our first guests until March, we have effectively not even operated as an affiliate during non-pandemic times! None of us expected that our first year as an affiliate would bring struggles such as these we are all facing in these times, but we have still been able to do good work, thanks to the unending generosity of our volunteers and donors as well as the strength of all your prayers. Join with us in celebrating all that we have accomplished so far by following along on social media and spreading awareness to your networks. Help us continue adapting in the face of these uncertain times by donating today online or by mailing a check to PO Box 1608, Laurens, SC 29360. Your tax-deductible gift will help us continue providing financial assistance and other essential services to families experiencing homelessness in Laurens County. Together, we can transform the lives of families and ensure every child has a home.