With the signing of a contract and the payment of $1 for the yearly rental fee for its office and day center, Family Promise of Carbon County now officially has a place to call "home." The building for the office and day center, located at 167 South Third St. in Lehighton, has been provided by Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
"We are thrilled that Trinity Church can be a part of the services that Family Promise will be providing," said Barbara Belon, president of the Congregation Council of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lehighton. "No one else in Carbon County is providing this important service."
Family Promise of Carbon County is a 501-C-3 non-profit, nondenominational organization serving homeless families in the county. Utilizing the existing resources of area churches, the organization has formed a network of 13 congregations who are willing and able to house homeless families in their buildings for seven consecutive nights, four times per year.
The day center is where Family Promise of Carbon County will work directly with the families. In the evening, the families go to one of the 13 area churches for meals, hospitality, and a place to sleep.
According to Family Promise of Carbon County President Larissa Kimmel, "Thirteen area churches have stepped up with great enthusiasm – as well as many individuals in these churches."
Host congregations include All Faiths Tabernacle in Jim Thorpe; All Saints Episcopal Church in Lehighton; Ben Salem United Church of Christ in Lehighton; Christ Lutheran Church in Jim Thorpe; Dinkey Memorial Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ashfield; First United Church of Christ in Palmerton; Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Trachsville; People's EC Church in Franklin Township; Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Palmerton; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mahoning Valley; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Palmerton; Trinity Lutheran Church in Bowmanstown; and Zion United Church of Christ in Lehighton.
Support congregations are Discovery Fellowship in Jim Thorpe; First Presbyterian Church in Lehighton; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church North Side in Jim Thorpe; and St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Weissport.
"The generosity of these congregations has been absolutely amazing," said Kimmel. "It's good to know that there are individuals who want to make people's lives better."
Thanking Kimmel and the entire Board of Directors of the organization, Family Promise of Carbon County Executive Director Robert (Bob) Fatzinger said, "We're here – serving children and their families in Carbon County. In fact, we're already working with two families."
Kimmel added, "This program is not for single individuals – but for families who want to help themselves." There is an interview process to participate in the program. Referrals come from school districts and social agencies – as well as self-referrals.
Family Promise of Carbon County is one of over 152 such networks across the United States. Based on the support of volunteers, host congregations, and support congregations, the organization is funded by donations, grants, and fundraising opportunities.
One such fundraiser that is currently being conducted is a Christmas card sale. Designed by three local artists, all proceeds from the sales of these cards benefit the program. Deadline for orders is this week.
For more information about the Christmas cards, contact Fatzinger at the Family Promise of Carbon County office and day center at (610) 379-4757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information about Family Promise of Carbon County, visit www.FamilyPromiseCarbonCounty.org.