Family Promise brings hope to Blount County homeless

By: Stephen McLamb Email
By: Stephen McLamb Email

As people continue to lose their jobs due to a nationwide recession, some people may find them homeless.

But now there's hope for those in Blount County thanks to a group of churches.

Family Promise began operations this week in Blount county with their first family.

The program bands together churches to give people a roof over their head and a place to serve as an office in finding a new job and get back on their feet.

But what it also does is show the true spirit of a community.

"We're excited about all of this. It's just a great opportunity to help others and there's such a need for this in this county," says Wanda Springsdorf, a Family Promise volunteer.

Wanda Springsdorf is just one of many planning to volunteer for Family Promise, a program designed to help those situationally homeless.

Family Promise of Blount County Executive Director Mandy Stinnett-Adkins says, "It could be anything from losing a job or it could be a foreclosure on a home."

Family Promise of Blount County began operations with a single family this week.

Green Meadow Methodist Church serves as the center's day center where those in the program begin seeking a new life.

"Whether that's resume building, filling out an application. We have transportation, volunteers who can drive to and from job interviews," says Adkins.

But, when night falls, instead of hitting the streets, families go to one of ten Blount County churches.

Where Sunday school classrooms are now temporary homes.

Reverend Bob Beasley, pastor of St. Andrews Episcopal Church says, "Our goal is to make it home for a week so it doesn't need to be too institutional. It needs to be hospitable."

Ten area churches have signed up to take the families a week at a time.

St. Andrews Episcopal will serve as home for this single family this week.

But it's the volunteers that make it happen.

"Pizza. We're going to have a big salad kind of a salad bar kind of thing and dessert," says Gretchen Prisock.

Prisock is one of 90 volunteers from the church and is in charge of Tuesday's dinner for the family.

For her, it's just a small role in helping a family get back on their feet.

"Want to lend a helping hand and a helping step up for them as they find hopefully a job and a new home," says Prisock.

If your church in Blount county would like to help out, or you yourself need help you can contact Family Promise of Blount County at 865-233-4737.

Adkins says they still need help.

She says the goal is to have 13 so each church will only have to help out once a quarter.

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