Family Promise helping bring hope to homeless

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By Mary Atkinson

Corporations that have been in Lancaster County for several decades have left. Now we find ourselves struggling to stay afloat. So we are given some unfortunate realities.

However, if we look at some other countries around the world we note they are worse off than us. We need to keep our little county, our little nitch in the world, strong by working together to help others. If everyone can just sit back, look at the whole picture, take a deep breath, then stand firm in the conviction and experience that this county and country have survived worse events.

But what can we as citizens do? With a lot of faith in God and each other, we can take ownership for our problems and work together to solve them. We need to say no to some things, and yes to those things that will help us get closer to each other, while helping those who are less fortunate.

We need to set a good example to our children and grandchildren and work together. We need to get involved in the nonprofit organizations that help those who need a particular kind of help. An ecumenical group of 13 churches is to doing that.

There are many homeless families in Lancaster County – homeless as a result of loss of jobs or other financial tragedies. Family Promise is a new charitable organization established to help families with children who are in need. These families will get to experience first-hand a community of small-town kindness with a giant-size heart. As with all nonprofit organizations, Family Promise will thrive only because of our citizens’ generosity from volunteers to finances. Family Promise is young. Our fundraising mode has started. Grants have been requested, and we are waiting and praying for positive responses from all of them.

Meanwhile, local volunteers are developing fundraising programs that are both fun and rewarding. On Oct. 25 Family Promise will have its first golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club. Four-person teams will have the opportunity to enjoy a day of golf, vie for the opportunity to win $100,000 and enjoy food and friendship on a football-free October Saturday.

Entries are available at any of the participating churches in Family Promise as well as at Lancaster Country Club and the Crow’s Nest Driving Range. Entry fee is $50 per player. Gift certificates will be awarded for the first three low-scoring teams and door prize opportunities will be given to all.

Family Promise’s Chain of Hope started a month ago. The links of ribbon that will make up the chain are 50 cents each and can be purchased in memory of or in honor of someone special in your life. All participating churches are selling the links as are some local area businesses. If anyone is interested in buying or selling links, call 285-3318 to arrange delivery or pick-up. Our goal is to get plenty of links by Thanksgiving to create a chain that will stretch the length of Main Street.

You can help by registering for the golf tournament or purchasing a link. If you would like to make a donation you may do so by sending it to Family Promise, P.O. Box 854, Lancaster, SC 29721. All donations are tax-exempt.

Remember, the efforts of a participating community can enrich the lives of so many.

Mary Atkinson is a Lancaster County resident.