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A Thanksgiving to be Thankful For

Non-profits are supposed to help others. Many these days do nothing more than help themselves. When you find a non-profit that is doing it right, it should be applauded.

I had the privilege of eating Thanksgiving dinner with about ten families who have gone through the Family Promise program here in Jacksonville. Family Promise is an organization that has an 80% family+promisesuccess rate of placing homeless families in homes.

The parents are given resources to find jobs, learn to handle their finances, and get a home for their families all the while the children remain in school. There is transportation provided for the kids, so they can remain where they started without having to be moved from school to school.

A difference I’ve seen between these families in Family Promise and those who just expect a handout is the Family Promise families want to succeed and get a better life for themselves and their children. They’ve learned that government funding isn’t the way to get it. Hard work is.

Deuteronomy 15:11 states, For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’  Churches host these families until they have the resources to support themselves. Yes, churches. That’s what churches are meant to do — feed and help the less fortunate. Basically, do the Lord’s work. I’m proud to say my church, Crossroad United Methodist, here in Jacksonville, is part of this program.

homelessgirl1Getting a closer look at how Family Promise helps the needy is the best way to see God’s work in this
world. Too often people just go to church, sit in a pew, and not get involved. By getting engaged with helping others, you not only become closer to God, but you see the blessings God has truly put in your own life. It has a tendency to make you want to give more than receive.

Like I said earlier, I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of these families. They were all excited to have a “place of their own.” As if that wasn’t a wonderful experience, the volunteers from my church only made it better. Everybody worked to make it a success – the guests and the hosts.

When we mention homelessness, we have a tendency to think of old guys walking around downtown looking for a handout so they can buy alcohol, or we think of those holding signs in lieu of working. However, homelessness is so much more. It’s about families who are going through a hard time. Family Promise takes families from a destitute situation and gives them a feeling of love and hope.

The best advice I can give this holiday season is to find a good non-profit and become involved. It’s a wonderful way to see God working through others. And if you’d like to know more about Family Promise, please visit them on-line at  http://familypromisejax.org/.

If you or someone you know are in need of prayer this week, please leave a comment. We’d be more than happy to pray for you. And if this post moved you in some way, please feel free to share it.

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