Children played without a care in the world in the Trinity Baptist Church Hall as dinner was being prepared.
In the dining room, what appeared to be a routine family dinner, was actually a very rare treat for the people gathered around the table Feb. 27.
“I don’t think the kids really understand what is going on,” said one mother, who asked to remain anonymous.
Her family has faced some difficult times, including a recent death and a house fire that left them homeless. They stayed with a friend for a while, but that situation changed. While she has been working and going to school, things have been hard, she said.
“I looked other places for some help, but there wasn’t anything,” she said.
That’s when she learned about the Family Promise program through the United Way in Temple.
Family Promise brings homeless families together with area churches.
Trinity Baptist is the first church in western Bell County to participate in the program, which began in 2003. Thirteen churches work on a rotating schedule to house homeless families while they seek housing and jobs.
Because of the program, the woman is able to take care of things during the day while her children are at school and knows they have a nice place to go to at night.
“I like the arts and crafts and the cupcakes after dinner,” her oldest child said about his favorite things during their stay Feb. 23 to March 1 at Trinity Baptist.
The woman is trying to find housing. “When I get things sorted out in my life, I want to give back to others,” she said.
Want to expand
No community is immune to homelessness. According to the program’s website, families now make up 40 percent of the homeless population and one out of every four homeless people is a child.
Family Promise gives homeless families a homelike environment while they search for jobs and housing. They spend the day at the Temple Day Center.
Located in an old firehouse, the facility has a kitchen, showers, laundromat and computer access for job searching. In the evenings, the families are guests at local churches.
The program hopes to expand in Harker Heights and Killeen and is seeking more churches, individuals and businesses to get involved.
Donations of hygiene items, toilet paper, paper towels, twin-size blankets amd sheets, soap, diapers, bath towels, family movies and dishwashing liquid are welcome. For more information, call 254-773-9980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.