Local congregations give back to Family Promise of Gwinnett

All throughout today, 30 individual congregations in Gwinnett County are celebrating and promoting the six years of service that Family Promise of Gwinnett has given to the community by helping homeless families find more stability in life.

"Our actual anniversary is in April, but the national organization celebrates now," Brent Bohanan, Executive Director of Family Promise of Gwinnett said. "We do this on the third Sunday in September. It works so well to bring awareness of the organization to the public."

The churches who participate with the nonprofit will show support in a number of ways. Some have asked Family Promise staff members to talk to their congregation, others are collecting donations and gift cards to give to the group, and a few are giving sermons about serving the community while highlighting the organization.

The hymn, "O God, You Give Welcome," which was dedicated to the national Family Promise was given to each church to sing.

"We hope that they celebrate the organization today," Bohanan said.

Family Promise of Gwinnett has two major projects they are working on. The first is an expansion project to support more families -- they have been working on this for almost two years.

The nonprofit helps only four families at a time, moving them from church to church every week. With the new plan, the organization would be able to take care of eight families simultaneously.

"All of these churches are sharing the responsibility, so none are a full time shelter," Bohanan said. "We're working on the second round of churches, but we are still three or four congregations short of our goal."

The other project is opening an all women and children emergency shelter during the winter.

"There are no true emergency shelters in Gwinnett County," Bohanan said. "We're hoping to have it open by Nov. 1 somewhere in Lawrenceville."

It will be open from November until March for women and children to have a safe place to sleep, shower and eat a hot meal for a short stay during the colder months.