(Originally Published in The Daily Times July 30, 2009 by reporter Joel Davis) — MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Local Christian charity Feed Your Faith has donated $14,277 to the new Family Promise of Blount County program. The money was raised at the Feed Your Faith Marriage Conference featuring actor Kirk Cameron at Sevier Heights Baptist Church on July 18.
“Feed Your Faith was started to bring thought-provoking Christian speakers, authors and musicians to East Tennessee so we could raise money for those in need,” said founder Mike Williams. “Family Promise embodies everything we wanted to support with our ministry, and we’re pleased to know this event will continue to touch people’s lives through the marriage conference and the great things Family Promise of Blount County does right here in our community.”
The new Family Promise of Blount County program allows local churches to provide overnight accommodations and meals for homeless families on a rotating basis.
“We at Family Promise of Blount County are so grateful to Feed Your Faith and the ministry they are providing in East Tennessee,” Executive Director Mandy Stinnett Adkins said. “The generous donation will serve families in need in Blount County.”
Feed Your Faith is currently finalizing plans for a number of upcoming events including a major men’s conference and another concert event. All proceeds from Feed Your Faith events go to local charities. During the past three-and-a-half years, Feed Your Faith has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities including Compassion Coalition, Family Promise, School of Hope and Knox Area Rescue Ministries.
The local churches that have agreed to participate in the Family Promise network so far are Beech Grove Baptist Church, Carpenter’s Campground United Methodist Church, Fairview United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church-Maryville, First United Methodist Church of Maryville, Forest Hill Baptist Church, Friendsville First Baptist Church, Monte Vista Baptist Church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church and Sycamore Tree United Methodist Church.
There are several support churches, whose members have agreed to provide volunteers and other support to the program, as well: Alcoa First United Methodist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, Broadway United Methodist Church, Embassy Christian Center, Friendsville United Methodist Church, Highland Presbyterian Church, New Providence Presbyterian Church, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Peck’s Memorial United Methodist Church and St. John’s United Methodist Church.
Green Meadow United Methodist Church serves as the day center for the program, giving families a place to stay during the day while they look for housing and work. The day center provides a stable telephone number, mailing address and a base of operations for participants.
If 13 churches participated, each church would host from three to five families for a week each quarter. Budgets for each church would be between $200 and $250 each week.
The average stay for families in Family Promise programs nationwide is 52 days. Ideally, the families are in the program for no more than three months. The families are required to seek employment and housing. Failure to work toward independence means termination from the program. Families are referred to Family Promise through the school systems, social services and various nonprofit organizations.
To make a referral to Family Promise, community members can contact Family Promise at (865) 233-4737.
Copyright 2009 The Daily Times