In October 1986, Central Presbyterian Church was one of the founding congregations which opened their doors and began providing meals and shelter to homeless families in Union County. Central first served as a support congregation and became a host congregation in 1987, using classrooms as bedrooms and creating a safe, warm environment for homeless families and their children to sleep. Central still serves as a host congregation today, with Dorothy Burger as coordinator, and Francie Cho as recruiter.
During the past 27 years, more than 500 volunteers had prepared meals, stayed overnight, read to the children, and even celebrated birthdays with guests. As recently as last month we hosted Family Promise of Union County, our local affiliate.
Family Promise, located in the Old City Hall on Summit Avenue, is the national organization founded by Karen Olsen, mother and grandmother of our Brad Olsen family. Sitting on the National Board, which develops new affiliates and supporting projects, are Karen Olsen, Neely Dodge, Janet Whitman and former Board member Don Weida. With Union County being the first affiliate, Family Promise has grown to 182 affiliates in 41 states. Over 27 years, 6,000 congregations with 160,000 volunteers have mobilized to help 500,000 people in need. We take great pride in being the hometown for this organization. It demonstrates profoundly how one person’s good idea can work miracles.
Family Promise works compassionately to help homeless families achieve stability, is ecumenical in outreach, operates efficiently and is fiscally responsible, and confirms every religion’s tenet to help the poor. Thank you, Central Presbyterian, for being a pillar of support for this wonderful organization.