Feb. 10—LIMA — The goal of Family Promise of Lima is to help homeless families get back on the road to self-sufficiency, and Saturday's fundraising dinner at Westside United Methodist Church aimed to help the agency continue that mission.
Saturday's "Have a Heart for the Homeless" Valentine's Day Benefit was expected to attract 200 to 250 participants, all pitching in to help fund Family Promise as the agency continues to work with families who have come down on hard times.
"This is one of our largest fundraisers, and we only have two benefits a year," Family Promise Executive Director Hellen Douglas said. "We do not receive any state grants, so this is vital to our survival. We survive on donations from the community, churches and other agencies."
Operating out of the church on Gloria Avenue, Family Promise helps up to six families at a time who for whatever reason do not have a place to live. The agency helps both married couples and individuals, but they must have children with them to qualify for assistance. According to Douglas, that assistance to families can range from childcare arrangements to help with job placement even to help with obtaining state ID cards and driver's licenses.
"One of the things we tell them is that this is not a shelter," she said. "When they come in, they know we're going to have case management meet with them."
The idea for Family Promise is to help move families become better equipped to be able to obtain housing and employment. However, that has proved to be more challenging as the agency has seen an increased demand for services as well as a lack of quality, affordable housing options, Douglas said.
"Last year, we assisted 37 families," she said. "I can see that increasing dramatically this year."
While Saturday's event, complete with a dinner, entertainment and both live and silent auctions, helps Family Promise continue its mission, there is always a need for both monetary help and additional volunteers, Douglas said.
"They can either call here or they can stop and pick up a paper application," she said. "Or you can go to our website, and under 'volunteers,' there's a form to fill out online and it will kick back to us and we'll give them a call."
Anyone interested in learning more about Family Promise or in volunteering can go to familypromiseoflima.org or call 419-879-4600.
"From teenagers up to 99, come volunteer," Douglas said. "It will make a difference in your life. I promise."