I wanted to write today to send a reminder note of invitation and encouragement to attend the Family Promise fall fundraiser this weekend.  We are having an auction party on September 9th from 5:00 – 8:00.  The party is at Maceli’s.  Please come to bid on some practical and some unique items, come to have fun, come to have some good food, and visit with wonderful people, but most importantly come to support Family Promise. We also have a golf tournament on September 10th.  All the registration information is on our website:  www.lawrencefamilypromise.org

In all the planning and current energy around our major fundraiser for the year, I don’t want to any of us (staff, board and volunteers) to ever forget what and why we are a part of Family Promise.  LFP is an organization where the work/mission runs deep.  This program works because of relationships, it works because of God’s family moving in the entire community of Lawrence, it works because of God’s love, because of hospitality and generosity.  Most of the work is done by volunteers and hosting congregations who provide the overnight shelter and dinners.  Many breakfasts and lunches are also provided by the hosting congregations.  So why are we having a fund raiser?

This organization runs on a very lean budget. Our annual budgets have run between $160,000 and 180,000/year since starting in 2008.  The budget goes to a number of critical items.  I will include a few of those items here:

* The day center – a covenant monthly amount to Ninth Street Missionary Baptist for the use of the building.  We also have to pay utilities, Internet and phone services.  The total per month for the day house to stay open is $1695.00. The day center is open 365 days per year.
* Our van transports the guests to and from the congregations.  With that service we need gas, maintenance and insurance.  The monthly average for the van is $1400.00.
* We also have a small transportation fund to help with bus passes, and car repairs both to get guests to and from jobs.
* We have a benevolence fund to purchase items needed by the guests that we are not able to have donated.  Such items this past year have included a few camp fees for activities for the children this summer, medicine if not covered by insurance, clothing for work and school, processing fees for documents such as licenses, birth certificates, etc, equipment fees for special activities outside of school for students, enrollment fees for adult education, and occasional formula, diapers, baby needs, hygiene needs, or day center supplies when we run out.
* We also pay for our 1 full time and 2 part time staff.  All of whom work with the guests and graduates in the program on a daily basis.  Kendra, our 15 hour per week social worker spends 100% of her time with guests and graduates of the program.  Becky, our 20 hour per week guest and program coordinator spends between 70 and 80% each week with the guests, or developing programs to directly aid the guests.  The other 30 to 20% of her time is working with volunteers and hosting / supporting congregations. My own time is divided to about 65% time with guests and graduates, with the remaining 35% working with congregations, volunteers, fundraising, newsletters and communications, grant writing, networking with the social service agencies in town, and general administration work.

We take stewardship very seriously, and it is a critical component of our mission here at Lawrence Family Promise.  Our desire is to be fully transparent.  We have added each of our annual reports on our webpage for review.  It is important to us that our donors to know exactly where each dollar given will go.

If you are reading this, then you obviously have a compassion towards the mission of  Family Promise of Lawrence, and we are so grateful.   We recently calculated what it costs to get a family through the program and successfully rehoused.  It ranges between $8,000 and $10,000 per family depending on duration in the program and family size.  These dollars are directly invested in lives of individuals who then in turn serve family promise once they graduate, because of their gratitude to all of you.   Lives are touched, and permanently changed.

I was blessed to meet the first family to graduate from Lawrence FP last week.  Many of you will remember CeCe.  She stopped by and her darling little girl said, “hey, we lived here!”.  Lawrence Family Promise and all the programs allow for a place to live, though temporary, it is safe, child friendly and nurturing.  LFP allows a time to pause, to have some space to dream and set goals for families, to start new jobs, to save money, to develop improved budget spending patterns, to get help needed in all aspects of life with life skills coaching,  to meet some amazing people and build a new social network, and to begin to regain their hope.  There is not a price I can put on that!  I am so grateful.

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to on another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Rom 12:9-13 (NIV)

We do have a mission statement – but I sure think this passage from the book of Romans is a good one for this organization too!