A local non-profit organization is looking to demonstrate faith through actions. Family Promise of Grayson County is hoping to affect the homeless population in Grayson County by working with area churches to help provide housing and resources to those in need.
Since its founding in the 1980s, Family Promise has created 200 affiliates in the U.S. Currently, there are 14 areas working to launch chapters. The Grayson County chapter hopes to start housing people in this area in October.
“We are faith based but we do not want to apostatize to people” Family Promise of Grayson County chair Becky Frank said. “We will ask the people if they would like to come to church, but we do not want to force them or make that necessary to receive our help.”
Family Promise has six components, host/support congregation, day center, transportation, funding, social services and volunteers.
The host church provides housing and meals for a family for a week. Right now, the Grayson County chapter has seven host churches, Church of Resurrection in Sherman, Covenant Presbyterian in Sherman, First United Methodist Church in Sherman, Georgetown Baptist Church in Pottsboro, Grace Lutheran Church in Denison, Grace United Methodist Church in Sherman and Trinity Baptist Church in Sherman.
The support churches provide volunteers, help prepare meals and give resources to help host churches. Family Promise of Grayson County has six support churches, First Baptist Church in Pottsboro, Grand Avenue Presbyterian Church in Sherman, Greater New Hope Church in Sherman, Harmony Baptist Church in Sherman, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Pottsboro and Hagerman Baptist Church in Pottsboro.
The day center staffs a network director who helps the family find jobs and prepare for more permanent housing.
Family Promise handles all transportation for the families receiving aid. This includes to and from the host congregations, to employment interviews, housing searches, medical and dental appointments and social service agencies.
“We need 13 host churches,” Frank said. “We need more volunteers working to raise additional funds. We have about a quarter of the annual budget that we need now. We had a matching grant about one month ago.”
Frank said the chapter has raised $35,000 so far.
“We have beds, a van and we are in negotiations right now for a day center,” Frank said. “There is a lot of momentum behind this organization. We also have a lot of people are interested and desire this organization for Grayson County.”
There are about 30-40 people that attend the monthly meeting of the organization and the National Family Promise President Claas Ehlers visited with the Grayson County chapter Tuesday.
“We have had wonderful collaborations with other Family Promise chapters,” Frank said. “Family Promise of Collin County has helped a lot. They sold us a van and also provided us with the beds that we will use. They have also allowed us to watch what they are doing.”
The goal, Frank said, is to have Family Promise link itself with all of the social service organizations in Grayson County.
“We want to act as a hub for people,” Frank said. “There are over 1,000 homeless people in Grayson County. These are not the people that you see on the corner of Highways 75 and 82. These are the people living in tent cities or their cars. They are the ones staying at weekly motels or sleeping on their grandparents’ couches.”
Next month, Frank said, Family Promise has already scheduled meetings with four more churches. She said that organization members are happy to meet and give a presentation to any church whose goals align with Family Promise.
“In October, we will be hosting a bed race,” she said. “We will take twin sized beds and put wheels on them. We will decorate them. Then we will race them at the fall festival in Denison. We want people to sponsor a bed, help raise funds and help us write grants.”