LIMA — The ultimate goal of Family Promise of Lima-Allen County is a simple one.
“We hope to take ourselves out of business,” said board member Holly Koza.
For now, Promise aims to help families get the extra help they need to become self-sufficient. The group is celebrating its fifth anniversary and began the observance with a volunteer host reception Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church.
The organization provides assistance to homeless families by helping them find sustainable employment and housing. Nine Lima-area churches provide help while the families make the transition into self-sufficiency by providing daily meals and a place to sleep on a daily basis. The group is celebrating its five-year anniversary along with National Family Promise Week, which is celebrating 25 years of existence Oct. 20 to 26.
“It has been a very productive organization,” said Family Promise Executive Director Chuck Wolfe. “In five years we have helped about 200 families eventually find housing and sustainable, reliable employment. About 80 percent of the families that have come to our organization for help have maintained their self-sufficiency.”
The brief reception honored several board members, member churches, and other volunteers in the organization. The churches participating include Grace Community Church, Faith Christian Church/Forest Park United Methodist Church, St. Charles Catholic Church, Community United Methodist Church, Southside Christian Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, and Crossroads Church of God, all in Lima, as well as Immanuel United Methodist Church in Elida and Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Bluffton.
The organization plans to celebrate both anniversaries by hosting a breakfast to honor donors at St. Rita’s Medical Center on Oct. 25. It will also make a presentation at the Lima Allen County Chamber of Commerce at the end of the month and will hang posters at various places throughout the county.
Wolfe said that Promise has 175 organizations nationally including eight in Ohio. He said the organization was formed by Karen Olson in Summit, N.J. Olson would drive to work every day and began to notice several homeless people on her way to work. She began to stop and give food and clothing to the people and eventually asked her church to help. The organization slowly grew into the national organization that it is today.
Wolfe said feedback from families that have been helped by Promise has been all positive.
“They love the support,” he said. “We provide them food and shelter while they get their family unit back on its feet. We treat them with dignity and respect and it propels them into a new life.”
Board member Bev Berry said they would like to help even more people.
“We want to go to the next level,” Berry said. “We don’t have a huge budget but we are very blessed. We want to use Family Promise Week to help us get noticed.”