By Danielle McCarthy Everett, Correspondent
More homeless families in Central Texas will find refuge and support at Family Promise of East Bell County this year as the organization continues to provide food, shelter and assistance in overcoming the obstacles that led families into homelessness. The organization, located in Temple, was founded in January of 2004 and works with a network of 13 local faith-based organizations and the Bell County community to provide for affected families. Executive Director Rachel Peterson said the organization had another successful year of helping others in 2016 and is looking forward to all that is to come in the year ahead, including a change the organization is working on.
“We want to invest ourselves more deeply in the area of after-care,” Peterson said. “I think we are strengthening that a little bit at a time.”
Peterson elaborated, saying the organization is looking at the possibility of inviting families who have completed Family Promise’s program to come back for family-style events such as game nights or potluck dinners.
“That’s currently in development,” Peterson said. “What we’re hoping to do is have more opportunities to connect as a group, similar to what the families did while they were here, just for fun and to create a positive relationship within the community.”
Family Promise was also able to test out a small financial literacy pilot program last year for a group of low-income families. The program was made possible through a grant and Peterson said she hopes to host the program again this fall.
Peterson said she’s also looking forward to seeing more families succeed this year, just as she saw last year.
“One mom who left us within the last year recently told me this about her time at Family Promise, ‘I got my self-esteem back. I think my kids also did. We became a stronger family,’” Peterson said. “Another former guest mom recently said, ‘I became filled with more hope and empowerment and my determination increased. I was now about to embark on a new journey, and this time I knew I could really make a difference in our lives.’”
If you or someone you know could benefit from Family Promise’s services, please contact the organization at 254-773-9980 or visit www.familypromisebellcounty.com to learn more. These resources can also provide people with information on how to get involved, as well.