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"Angels" from area churches are helping homeless families find homes -- temporary and long-term.
Family Promise of Beaufort County is comprised of volunteers from 30 local churches and synagogues. The group was named a "top Angel" in 2010 by S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond because it uses 99 percent of its donations and grants for program costs.
"Our goal is sustained independence -- for our families to be on their own," said Carolyn Cherwon, president of the board of trustees for Family Promise. "We are helping them find the tools and resources to do this. We want everybody to succeed and to be on their own."
Cherwon, a member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Bluffton, is one of more than 600 volunteers who work to help homeless families. Beaufort County's Family Promise is one of nearly 160 affiliates in the nationwide network.
The group provided homeless families with a place to stay for one week at one of several host churches. Often a Sunday school classroom is turned into a suite for the family. Support churches and their members provide meals and fellowship and help with transportation. During the day, program participants use resources at the Levy Family Center in Bluffton where they get help with resumes, job interviews and finding day care for their children.
The organization's annual dinner and silent auction fundraiser will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Hampton Hall clubhouse in Bluffton. Other events are planned, including a "Celebration of Sacred Music" on Oct. 30 at St. Peter Catholic Church in Beaufort.
Family Promise Director Elliott Brown said the group has celebrated an 80 percent success rate in helping families find sustainable housing since it began in July 2008. In fewer than five months this year, Family Promise has served eight families, totaling 24 people. In 2010, the organization served 30 people, 18 of whom were children.
In addition to helping families find housing, Family Promise helps with other successes. It helped one mom reunite her family and find continued employment. Another single mom completed her GED classes which led to her finding a job. Brown said one 4-year-old boy was glad to be staying in one place for more than a night.
"When told 'You get to stay here for two weeks,' the boy asked 'I have a home for two weeks?'" Brown said. "He was happy just to be in one place for a given time."
IF YOU GO
Family Promise of Beaufort County will hold its annual fundraiser dinner and silent and live auctions from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Hampton Hall clubhouse off Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton. Cost is $35 a person.
ST. FRANCIS BY THE SEA CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Knights of Columbus Council 10668 and St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church on Hilton Head Island will sponsor a drive to collect items needed for tornado victims in Alabama. There will be a truck in the church parking lot at 45 Beach City Road from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday and from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday to accept needed items. The truck will leave for Tuscaloosa on Tuesday. The following items have been requested: large-size diapers, shampoo, baby wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, water, baby food, dishes, glassware, pots, pans, bowls, kitchen utensils, flatware, sheets, towels, blankets, pillows, lamps and lighbs. Any cash contributions can be made payable to Catholic Social Services, note "tornado victims."
Details: Bart Bubnell, 843-342-9249
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH HILTON HEAD ISLAND
Cast 4 Christ, sponsored by First Baptist Church Hilton Head Island, will be from 8 a.m.-noon today at Jarvis Creek Park. Children ages 5-15 are invited for fishing, food and fun. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. All tackle is provided. Music, prizes and a free picnic are included.
HORSEPOND BAPTIST CHURCH
Horsepond Baptist Church's 32nd Women's Day Celebration continues with its 10th Prayer Breakfast at 9 a.m. today. Evangelist Melanie Washington of Second Grays Hill Baptist Church will speak. First Lady Diane Capers of Life Ministries Church in Burton will speak at 4 p.m. Sunday. The church is at 28 Poppy Hill Circle, Beaufort.
Details: 843-846-2228, 843-846-8050
BETHESDA CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Bethesda Christian Fellowship's Youth Crusade Revival begins at 10 a.m. today. A picnic will follow. The event is free. The church is at 32-36 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, St. Helena Island.
SCOTTSVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH
In celebration of the upcoming Friends and Family anniversary, the Scottsville Baptist Church Family will sponsor a Gospel Sing-out at 7 p.m. today at the church. The church is at 110 Olde Church Road, St. Helena Island.
Details: the Rev. Jack Ladson, 843-838-2910
ST. JAMES BAPTIST CHURCH
St. James Baptist Church will host its annual Women's Day Program at 3 p.m. Sunday. Minister Phyllis Johnson of Blue Hill Community Church of Nazarene in Kansas City, Mo., will speak.
The dedication ceremony and unveiling of the St. James Baptist Church Historical Marker is at 3 p.m. May 22 on the church grounds. The marker, approved by the S.C. Department of Archives and History in collaboration with the S.C. African American Heritage Commission, recognizes the cultural and historical significance of the church founded on Hilton Head Island in 1886. Members and friends of the church will be joined by local, federal and state legislative delegation and local government officials; clergy; county leaders; and community organizations. Refreshments will be served. Details: Deacon Perry White, 843-681-4308
The church will hold its Spring Revival at 7:30 p.m. May 25-27. The revivalist is the Rev. Sam Spain of Lady's Island Baptist Church in Beaufort. Participating churches are: Wednesday, First African Baptist Church; Thursday, Central Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church; and Friday, Queen Chapel AME Church.
The church is at 209 Dillon Road, Hilton Head Island.
QUEEN CHAPEL AME CHURCH
Queen Chapel AME Church will celebrate Women's Day 2011 at 11 a.m. Sunday. The theme is "Women Marching Together for the Lord." The church is at 114 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island.
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP OF BEAUFORT
The Rev. Nan White will present "Fusion of Flames" at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort. A Chalice Lighter grant will be presented to UUFB by Regina Largent from UU Richmond, Va. A Chalice Lighter grant is awarded to congregations encouraging growth of Unitarian Universalism for traditional and innovative expansion projects. The church meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island.
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF THE LOWCOUNTRY
The Rev. Manuel Holland will present "Where To? What Next?" at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry. Holland will lay out a spiritual path for the congregation.
A Circle Dance is from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at the church. New dances from Brazil, Canada and the Balkans will be taught. A love offering will be accepted. Dances are held the third Tuesday of each month. Details: Carolyn Hubers, 843-705-4915
The church is at 110 Malphrus Road, Bluffton.
BAPTIST CHURCH OF BEAUFORT
Registration for Baptist Church of Beaufort's "Tag It and Bag It" yard sale will be from 8:45-10:30 a.m. Sunday in front of the sanctuary. The sale will be from 8-11 a.m. May 21 at the church, 600 Charles St., Beaufort. Registration is $20 for an 8-by-3-foot space or table. Setup times are 4-7 p.m. Friday and 7-8 a.m. May 21 in Building B. The sale is sponsored by Touching All Generations, a part of the women's ministry. Proceeds will be used to fund TAG's September event, "Journey to Significance."
PROVIDENCE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Providence Presbyterian Church will commission seven new Stephen Ministers at the 11 a.m. service Sunday. Providence will also re-commission 17 Stephen Ministers and Leaders who are currently serving in this ministry and are committing to continue their service. Stephen Ministry helps pastors and congregations provide confidential caring ministry to people in need. The church is at 171 Cordillo Parkway, Hilton Head Island.
OLD ASHLEY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
District Three of the Old Ashley Baptist Association will have its monthly meeting at 9 a.m. May 21 at St. Paul Baptist Church, 22 St. Paul Baptist Church Road, Burton.
Details: the Rev. Joseph McKnight, 843-252-7855; the Rev. Joe Simmons, 843-812-6927
MOUNT ZION BAPTIST CHURCH
Pastor F.L. Wright and the Youth Ministry of Mount Zion Baptist Church will begin the annual Family, Friends and Community Day with a Unity Walk at 7 a.m. May 21. The church is at 32 Mount Zion Road, Blackville.
SCOTTSVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Scottsville Baptist Church Family will have the annual Friends and Family Celebration at 11 a.m. May 22. The theme is the "The Family that Prays Together Stays Together." Guest church is Mount Seal Missionary Church and the Rev. Winston Burgess of Lake City. The church is at 110 Olde Church Road, St. Helena Island.
"Catching a Vision," a prayer workshop by Katie Williams, is from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays through May 31 at Community Bible Church, 638 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. The nine-week discipleship course in prayer will be led by Elsie Stevens and Janie Johnson.
Details: 843-524-2738, 843-987-0033
CONGREGATION BETH YAM
"The Journey of the Jews: A Cultural Study" continues from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday at Congregation Beth Yam. Rabbi Brad Bloom leads the discussion series. The synagogue is at 4501 Meeting St., Hilton Head Island.
LUNCH HOUR OF POWER
The Rev. Joseph Bryant, associate minister at Ebenezer Baptist Church, will speak from noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Lunch Hour of Power in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.
Angel Food distribution is from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. May 21 at St. John's Lutheran Church, 157 Lady's Island Drive, Beaufort.
Distribution times have changed because of rerouting of trucks. Life House Church in Beaufort is also a host site (843-379-9673). Lion and The Lamb Ministries in Hardeeville is a host site south of the Broad River (843-540-2207). Online orders may be placed at angelfoodministries.com.