Members of the Family Promise of Carbon County (FPCC) fundraising team and other interested individuals met to work on invitations to this year's first funding event, an open house planned for Feb. 14 at the Lehighton home of Tina and John Dowd.

According to Larissa Kimmel founder of FPCC, "tax deductible donations from individuals make up 12 percent of our budget with the majority of individual donations using the '180 Club,' named for the fact that $180 will fund a family of four for one week in our program.

"Gifts of $180 are great but donations in any amount are helpful and appreciated," she said. "In our first two years of operation the program has successfully helped the parents of 27 children from 14 families find work and affordable housing. We are pleased that we have started the new year at full capacity with four families currently enrolled in the program receiving help today and hope for their futures".

Tina Dowd, the event host and vice president of the organization said that "until Family Promise of Carbon County (FPCC) there were no homeless shelters in the county that allowed at-risk families to remain together as a family unit.

"FPCC, in partnership with participating host churches, is one of over 180 Family Promise affiliates in 41 states with the capacity to serve over 15,000 meals, provide job placement support and secure living arrangements for guests 24 hours a day 365 days a year," said Dowd.

"With an annual budget of only $95,000, FPCC provides over $250,000 of services or $3 of service for each $1 in donated funds."

According to state Rep. Doyle Heffley, who along with his wife Kellie lent a hand with the mailing project, "there is an urgent need … The National Coalition for the Homeless report that children under the age of 18 accounted for 39 percent of the homeless population; and in rural communities, like Carbon County, the numbers are much higher."

"When I learned more about the obstacles that low-income families face I was motivated to assist, not only financially but also by volunteering my time" said Tiffani Christman the newest board member.

"Looking around the room you can see that Tiffani brings our program a lot of energy and additional help," added local businessman John Drury who worked with his wife Janet on the project.

In all 13 volunteers completed the mailing task, including Cindy Reinhart, Becky Christman, Jean Papay, Stacy Connell, Alicia Kline and Bob Welch.

For more information about Family Promise or to make a contribution, go to www.familypromisecarboncounty.com.