Pastor Damon Hubert is a relatively new pastor at The Chapel Ministries: Effingham Campus but, having previously pastored another Georgia church that was part of Family Promise’s Interfaith Hospitality Network, he isn’t new to the many ways the organization helps low-income and homeless families achieve financial stability and independence.
“The Chapel has worked with Family Promise for years, as a mission partner near and dear to us,” he shared. “I used to be a teacher and saw such a cycle of poverty. When things were only done for people, it seemed to keep them in that cycle. Family Promise doesn’t just provide financial aid to people; they provide opportunities for improvement and teach them how to help themselves. Adding that second layer of assistance truly helps break the cycle.”
Staying at Family Promise for no cost allows families to save money for a more sustainable future. “People in bad situations sometimes can’t afford to save enough money to get out of them, so they’re stuck,” Hubert explained. “After graduating from the program, families have a more solid financial foundation to build on.”
The Chapel loves preparing a weeks’ worth of meals for Family Promise four times a year, including Easter week. “Some of us take having meal options for granted. While we’re wondering what’s for dinner, someone down the street is wondering if they’ll have dinner at all,” Hubert said. “Providing a basic necessity that’s so natural for us, but means so much to someone else, enables us to put our faith into action!”
Prior to Covid-19 restrictions, The Chapel volunteers took meals to the home, then sat and talked with families about their day. “When you’re struggling, you often carry a sense of shame,” Hubert said. “But when people sit down and have a conversation with you -- human to human -- you begin feeling less like ‘those people over there,’ and more like part of a family.”
After Covid-19 restrictions went into place, volunteers weren’t able to share meals with the families, a disappointment that offered an unexpected spiritual advantage.
“Meals were dropped off in a cooler anonymously to avoid physical interaction, so no one knew who the volunteers were. So, we’ve literally been blessing families with no other motive than simply doing what God wants us to for our community.”
Hubert believes having a singular location for guests offers a true sense of home during a very transitional time. “When life’s beaten you down, you become jaded; when life’s been so cruel, you can’t see kindness. Families might arrive at Family Promise with awful circumstances, but soon they’ll encounter people who are kind and honestly want to help. I think that aspect can be just as lifechanging as anything else!”