Twenty-five and 1,500. Those are the two numbers I think about when I consider the work Family Promise of Wake County has done since we started ramping up for our big anniversary at the beginning of 2018. We hosted our inaugural fundraising event, Keeping the Promise, in April to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. During that time, we had the opportunity to engage with many of our amazing volunteers and supporters—those who have been with us since the beginning, and those who have joined as our organization has grown throughout the years. They shared stories of children and families who have touched their hearts; of rooms prepared, meals served, and life skills classes taught; and of conversations that lead to new understandings of the housing crisis in our communities.
Just as we were approaching the day of our anniversary celebration, the Board of Trustees received an email from Danielle, our Executive Director, notifying us that Family Promise of Wake County’s 1,500th family entered the Emergency Shelter program. It was a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, this was 1,500 families who experienced the support of our staff, the generosity of our volunteers, and the hope our programs give. On the other hand, this was 1,500 families who experienced the trauma of losing their home; more than 1,500 parents who told their children they had nowhere to stay that night; and more than 1,500 children who wondered when they would get to sleep in their own beds again. And I knew these 1,500 families accounted for only a portion of the people who experienced homelessness in Wake County since we started serving families in 1994.
But, in the end, hope wins. I am hopeful due to the long list of host churches and supporters who allow us to accomplish our mission. I am hopeful because we have a dedicated staff, including Danielle Butler and RaShawn Stanley, Amy Huenemann, Alissa Pritchett, Latisha Ward, and Carey Phelps. I am hopeful because our Board of Directors take their service seriously, thoughtfully make difficult decisions, and give generously of their time.
Finally I’m hopeful because this year, we once again have the opportunity to multiply our impact through a generous matching grant. If we raise $19,000 in new, increased, and lapsed donations between now and February 2020, the Stewards Fund will match it. I hope you take some time to download our 25th Anniversary Report, read the stories contained within those pages, and gain a greater sense of the importance of Family Promise of Wake County’s work—and of your continued support.