November 2016 | Vol. 7, No. 10
Welcome to two new hosts!
Our big news this month is that two additional groups have signed up to be in our regular rotation of host congregations.
Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton (ISSB)
, is represented by coordinators Amani Makarita and Nazira Hassan. Amani and Nazira said charity is a big part of their faith, and their members are excited to be a part of this program. "Part of our religion is to feed the hungry, help the homeless, do good," Amani said. (Along with the desire to serve, however, is also the belief that charity means more when conducted discretely -
more on that is here
.) The congregation also works with the All Faiths Food Bank and has recently been heavily involved in
supporting a new free health clinic
for the uninsured. If you're curious to know more about Islam, the mosque has
a page on its website inviting visitors
, and Amani and Nazira stressed to a meeting of coordinators last week that anyone is welcome.
The Shore Church
is represented by coordinator Susan Manselle. Susan had been volunteering with her mother through St. Paul Lutheran Church, and she took the idea of getting more involved back to her own congregation. She said she was struck immediately by the benefits of Family Promise, which she sees as offering real solutions to an immediate need in a way that benefits the guests and the volunteers. T
he Shore is a young church that meets inside Brookside Middle School
at Shade and Bee Ridge. Susan said children are a key focus area for her church, and Family Promise "was an easy match."
These two new congregations join many other dedicated groups. The congregations that feed and shelter as host congregations are:
- First Congregational United Church of Christ, Sarasota, Florida
- First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota
- First United Methodist Church - Sarasota, Florida
- Pine Shores Presbyterian Church
- Saint Boniface Episcopal Church Siesta Key
- St. Paul Lutheran Church
- Temple Beth Sholom of Sarasota
- Church of the Palms, Sarasota
Congregations that also support our mission generously are:
- All Angels Episcopal
- Concordia Lutheran Church
- Siesta Key Chapel
- South Shore Community Church
- St. Andrew United Church of Christ
- Joy Mayer, newsletter editor
A note from our network director
The holidays are a time of family and shared memories. We recall extended family gathered around a table loaded with food. The excitement of seeing what Santa brought. The peace of a candlelight church service. Maybe the snaps and pops of frying latkes.
Now, we look around the table for those we have lost. We bemoan the expense to make sure each child has the very best gifts. For all of us, the holiday season can be very stressful due to distance, unhappy relationships, and commercialization. Some people may withdraw or become depressed, others may act out.
For families experiencing homelessness, the holidays are especially challenging. They may not have anyplace to go for a family meal. They may not have money for extravagant gifts. But we can give them something more valuable than all of that. We can love them and provide a safe, compassionate place to call home for the holidays.
We have some activities planned for our families, including a Thanksgiving Leftover Brunch and decorating party (watch for photos in the next newsletter). Thanks to the generosity of the Circus Arts Conservatory, we have received a small block of tickets so our guest families will be able to enjoy Sailor Circus High Flying Holidays.
Our Saturday morning Life Skills Classes are equipping our guests with the tools they need to thrive when they graduate. We have had classes on banking, budgeting, coupon shopping, and journaling. Some future classes could include dressing for success, making a meal on a budget from grocery to table, sewing on a button instead of buying a new shirt, or growing your own garden for savings and health. If you would like to teach a class, let me know.
We welcome our new congregations, The Shore, and the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton, to our network. We look forward to their first weeks in the near future. There is always room for more congregations. You know that volunteering is deeply rewarding, so let everyone know what you love about Family Promise.
Thank you for all you do.
An update on Blues Festival sponsorships and tickets
Board member Meredith Strahle sends along this update on the progress of our fundraising efforts with the Suncoast Blues Festival.
Family Promise has sold sponsorships to:
Textmaxx Pro & Paymaxx Pro- Presenting Sponsor
Gettel Automotive*- (Car Dealership Locked Out)
1st Presbyterian Church
Advanced Healthcare Clinic
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is a major sponsor. (There will be three full page ads.) Sponsorships are still available, from $250.00 to $2500.00 levels. If a company chooses the $2500.00 level (Blues Business Sponsor) or the $1500.00 level (Blues Circle Sponsor), that particular company will lock out their competitors. That opportunity still exists for real estate companies, attorneys, doctors, dentists, CPA firms, pest control companies, construction and others.
Family Promise is selling tickets at these two upcoming free shows at Evie's Tavern & Grill, 4725 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota: Friday, December 9th from 6-9pm, and Wednesday, January 25th from 6-9pm.
Tickets (which would make great holiday gifts!) cost $15 for Friday only, $15 for Saturday only or $35 for both days. They are also on sale at:
- American Momentum Bank locations
- Fruitville- 5851 Fruitville Road, Sarasota 941-954-5100
- Clark- 5221 Clark Road, Sarasota 941-806-0820
- So.Washington- 544 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota 941-954-1000
- McIntosh- 3939 McIntosh Road, Sarasota 941-954-5100
- San Marco- 9121 Town Center PKWY, LWR 941-806-0830
- Classic World Travel, 8346 Market St, Lakewood Ranch 941-907-6980
- The Family Promise of Sarasota office, 2185 Wood St. #7, Sarasota 941-952-1800
Thank you for giving to Family Promise
As we all take time now to give thanks, we at Family Promise are grateful for all of you ... our volunteers, donors, and host and support congregations. As you all know, this program is almost entirely reliant in our volunteers and congregations.
In this year alone, our volunteer hours have totaled over 10,000 hours. Volunteers and host congregations are always appreciated. In the past decade, Family Promise of Sarasota has provided more than 3,200 bed nights and over 10,000 meals to the families who came to us for help. The care and support that made it possible for them to move into housing was provided by the congregations participating in our program and their amazing volunteers.
I am constantly amazed by the generosity of our contributors. We now have a well-organized and accurate database, and can readily see the remarkable base of support that we have, from individual donors to corporate supported. We have been awarded several grants recently, from First Presbyterian Church, All Angels by the Sea, and a family foundation. Each one of these generous gifts will be profiled individually in a future publication.
Our individual donor appeal is being mailed this week, and we ask that you consider making a gift to Family Promise. We rely on your generosity most for meeting the day-to-day needs of our families and their children. Necessities such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste ... clothes ... all of the things that we may take for granted but that are luxuries to our guests. Nothing you give could be too little. We give our thanks to you and wish you all the very best during the Holiday Season.
- Caroline Chambliss, development director
Are you following us on Facebook?
We post regular updates about how our guests are doing, thank-you's to volunteers and community partners and requests for specific kinds of help.
While email updates come just once or twice a month, Facebook updates can help you stay up to date more often. Plus, when you interact with our posts on Facebook, it shows those posts to more people, and our visibility in the community increases. Search for Family Promise of Sarasota, or
click here if you're logged into Facebook
Family Promise of Sarasota Contact Information
Family Promise of Sarasota Inc.
is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Florida Corporation.
Our volunteer Board of Trustees consists of
Sally Reeder, president; George Lavigne, vice president and secretary;
Jeanne Zeigler, treasurer; and Sandee Davis, Tyler Hayden, Wendy Leventhal, Nancy Levine, Andrew Lowther, Shawna Machado, Joy Mayer, Betty Pelletz, Stanley Pelletz, Meredith Strahle, Terri West-Corali; and Danielle Bourque, Community Youth Development board member.
Our staff members are Becky Taylor, network director, and Caroline Chambliss, director of development.