On Oct. 25, Belk’s Project Hometown partner, Family Promise, will hold its first-ever Giving Day, a 24-hour online event to raise funds and awareness of the national crisis of family homelessness. Belk will offer challenge grants to local affiliates to incentivize community participation in Family Promise Giving Day.

Thirty-two affiliates in 11 states in the Belk region will come together to provide a safety net to support families at risk of homelessness. The digital event will be accompanied by local in-person events and a social media campaign: #FPGives19.

Earlier this year, Belk announced a $1 million donation to Family Promise to open 10 new Affiliates and support 85 existing Affiliates in the retailer’s 16-state footprint, which will help parents and their children receive the tools and support they need to sustain independent housing.

“Through Belk’s support, the average number of programs offered by Family Promise Affiliates in Belk’s footprint more than doubled between 2017 and 2018,” reports Family Promise CEO Claas Ehlers. “Last year, Family Promise served nearly 50,000 people in the southeast through prevention, shelter and stabilization programs and other support.”

Family Promise Affiliates in the Belk footprint run 265 innovative programs including transportation, life skills, financial capability, food assistance, rental and utility assistance and post-shelter support. Family Promise also provides childcare, clothing donations, parenting courses, after-school tutoring and health and wellness workshops.

Last year, in these communities:

• 82% of families in shelter achieved sustainable housing

• The average length of stay in shelter program was 66 days

• 63,000 volunteers provided resources to families

• 61% of those served in the shelter program were children

• 68% of families served in the shelter program were female-headed households

Mom’s Life Transformed Through the Belk-Family Promise Partnership

Alex, a single mom from Shenandoah County, Va., struggled with addiction for years and found herself unable to focus on recovery. Even after losing custody of her infant daughter, Alex simply did not have the support structure in place to make a major life change.

Alex credits Family Promise with her big turn-around. 

“Family Promise saw my potential and gave me a chance when no one else did,” Alex says. “Their support and encouragement allowed me to change my life.”

When Alex was reunited with her 3-year-old daughter, Family Promise of Shenandoah County helped her navigate the challenges of parenting, as well as addiction recovery, stabilization, employment and housing. 

“It was overwhelming. Suddenly I was her sole provider,” Alex said.

While in the Family Promise shelter program, Alex began volunteering with event planning and fundraising. She was so passionate about her work, that Family Promise offered her a job. She received a donated vehicle, which increased her independence, and when she was ready, Family Promise found Alex and her daughter a home.

But Alex’s journey was far from over. She had never considered a career helping others, but her experience at Family Promise gave her a new perspective. Family Promise encouraged her to apply for a position with a rehabilitation facility where she now works with individuals recovering from addiction. She also teaches a weekly parenting class at Family Promise of Shenandoah County and mentors families on their journey from homelessness.

“Family Promise’s approach isn’t easy,” Alex says. “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. If you commit, you won’t end up in another shelter... you’ll leave to go home.”

Together, Belk and Family Promise are empowering mothers like Alex toward long-term independence and by doing so, are changing the future for her daughter. On Oct. 25, community members are invited to offer support and hope to local families. For more information, www.fpgives.org.

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