Family Promise is gearing up for its first-ever “Christmas Caravan,” which will spread holiday cheer to families in need throughout the Coastal Empire.
Family Promise’s “Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays” program resulted in dozens of generous community members “adopting” about 70 families across Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties. Over the past month, donors have been purchasing gifts for the families they adopted and dropping the presents off at Family Promise’s Day Center in Savannah.
Typically, the families in need would come to the Day Center to pick up the gifts provided to their families, but two challenges have arisen this year to complicate that process.
“The number of families seeking help this year has increased significantly, and many of them don’t have transportation, so they can’t easily make it to the Day Center for gift pickup,” Family Promise Executive Director Katrina Bostick said. “And second, with COVID-19 cases on the rise again, we’d prefer to play it safe and avoid an influx of people coming into the Day Centers.”
So, Bostick and her team came up with an alternate method for distributing the donated gifts. Family Promise took some of their local partners up on offers of holiday help and organized a Christmas Caravan to deliver all the gifts. Family Promise teamed with the United Way Young Leaders, the Tau Beta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Franternity, Inc., the League of Brawn Development Center for Men, and Above and Beyond Limousine Service. Using three Sprinter vans and a bus, the organizations will pool their manpower to make deliveries and ensure families in need throughout the tri-county area enjoy a bit of holiday cheer.
The caravan sets off at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 and is expected to have all presents dropped off by 8 p.m. For those families who can make it into the Day Center and prefer a pick-up over a drop-off, there will be designated curbside pick-up windows in each county – Chatham, Bryan and Effingham. Families will be notified of the option and scheduled accordingly.
“This really works out well for all involved,” Bostick said. “Only one person will bring the gifts up to the families’ doors, so they won’t have a lot of people going into their homes. Plus, this gives the families we are helping a chance to meet some of the volunteers who are working hard to help them. I’m so proud to serve in a community where people are so willing to help – whether that’s adopting a family and donating gifts, helping us get everything organized and planned, wrapping presents, or going along on the delivery caravan. It truly warms my heart.”
Family Promise works with host congregations to reduce the number of families who are separated when they fall on difficult times and find themselves homeless. However, the organization expands its mission beyond just providing meals and shelter for families. They also offer mentoring, homelessness-prevention programs and services, and initiatives to address the underlying causes of homelessness. Family Promise has a strong track record in keeping families together, while offering support and resources towards long-term independence.