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Family Promise & Bridging the Gap

By Elizabeth Corbett, Programs & Membership Coordinator

Hello, and Happy New Year! I loved reading about Reverend Carol’s (suggested) resolutions in last week’s newsletter, and one of those was (and I’m paraphrasing) to make some change by tending to what we love. Well, I love a lot of things, but one thing I really enjoy and can commit to is acting to change people’s lives. And it doesn’t have to be big groups of people–one family here, a couple of kids there, the dog next door, or a turtle crossing a busy road.


tside has a long relationship with Family Promise of Knoxville and we have helped this organization change the lives of families experiencing homelessness. We made a difference for a family of seven at Christmas time when we bought gifts for everyone. And we have an opportunity to tend to two more families from January 29 to February 5 by providing dinners: one family has two adults and two teenagers, and the second family has one adult and two teenagers. No one has any dietary restrictions. You can use this link to sign up for a night to provide food or gift cards.

While it is easier to purchase gift cards, I like providing a meal. I get together with my good friend Anne Harvey and we share expenses and prep work. We’ve made a potato bar with lots of toppings, chicken and noodle casserole with a green salad, a hearty vegetable soup with rolls and coleslaw; whatever you like to cook is really OK. If you choose to prepare food, put each family’s food in its own box or bag (you can label “family with 2 adults, 2 teens” or “family with 1 adult, 2 teens”).

But if you are short on time, a restaurant card for each family is an option. Families are housed near Cedar Bluff, so gift cards for any of the restaurants or sandwich shops in that area are convenient for the families. Because each family has two hungry teenagers, a card between $40 and $50 dollars is suitable or appropriate. Again, a great way to share the cost is to ask one of your friends at church!!

Regardless of whether you choose cards and food, everything needs to be at the Day Center on Middlebrook Pike by 5:30 on the day you signed up for. You can use this link to sign up for a night to provide food or gift cards. Share your love!

And I’m happy to tell you about Westside’s Justice and Generosity Project for the next few months. This is an easy way to tend to what we love and create some change!

Samantha Monday is a substance abuse case manager with the Knox County Sheriff's Department. She created a program called Bridging the Gap that helps those people who have gotten sober in jail to get support to help them stay sober once they exit the jail system. Perhaps you heard her speak at Westside before? She has–and Westside has helped her programs by providing direct assistance to individuals she is helping get into transitional housing and by collecting clothing and other essentials for those leaving jail and reentering the public world. In addition, any time one of us donates to KARM and indicates that we want Westside to be credited with the donation, we receive 'points' in the Corners of Your Field program, and receive KARM gift cards which we then pass along to Samantha to give to people in need.

Westside’s Justice and Generosity Project is to help Samantha get things for her program. Right now she really needs hoodies and sweatshirts (sizes Medium, Large and XL) and sweatpants (sizes Medium, Large and XL). As we learn more about what else she can use for the Bridging the Gap program, we will let you know through the newsletter, social media, and announcements in church. Westside will have a box in the foyer for your donations.

If you are interested in learning more about the Bridging the Gap program,

click here for the WATE story. I have confidence that Westsiders will help Samantha with this program and continue to change lives!

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