Last Tuesday we hosted our Annual Faith Leader Lunch and were so blessed to have more than 30 of our local faith leaders in attendance. Area Churches have played a critical role in the ongoing success of Bridges of Hope since our inception.
In 2012, local churches provided:
Our largest non-grant source of support ($46,963 in 2012).
Over $23,000 to be used as direct assistance to households through the Spirit of Kindness fund.
Referrals to Bridges: churches were the fourth-most-frequent referral source, after Crow Wing County, Lutheran Social Service and the Salvation Army.
Partnership support: including sponsorship, promotion, and organization for projects like the Thanksgiving Meal program.
Volunteer support: from Confirmation students, youth groups, and adults at Common Goods and more.
Prayer support– priceless!
Our Faith Leader Lunch is one of my favorite events of the year as it gives us the opportunity to thank our faith leaders for their support, share stories of the work we do together & remind all of us about how we can accomplish more together than any one organization on its own.
If you were not able to attend the meeting or would like to know more about how your church can join this partnership, here is some info:
Give what you can. Whether you are able to support the work of Bridges (so that we can continue to help families navigate area resources), the Spirit of Kindness fund, or both, your support is helpful. Thank you for giving.
Continue to refer households to Bridges of Hope. Bridges was created specifically to partner with and cross-connect all of our community resources and supports. Bridges of Hope can help reduce the frustration that many experience, being sent to one agency after another, just to be turned down at each stop. Our staff specialize in knowing about all of the area resources and how to access them.
Be clear that Bridges is a resource to help people navigate the “system,” but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily receive financial assistance.While we work really hard to help a household resolve their current situation or crisis (and often try to help them think creatively about how to do that), we have found that when there truly are no other resources to assist them, families most appreciate it when we are upfront and honest with them about that.
If you have referred a family to Bridges,and they tell you that “Bridges told me they can’t/won’t help,” feel free to call our office to learn more about the situation. Even if we don’t have a Release of Information from the family to give you all of the details, we can tell you more about our program processes and the kinds of things we typically suggest. Though it does occasionally happen that we “won’t help” (because the request is not appropriate or legitimate) or “can’t help” (because there are simply no resources in the community), annually this is a small number of households (in 2012 it was approximately 160 households out of 2,500).
Remember that Bridges of Hope offers many services to help families and individuals, so even when we may not have a financial solution for a family, we may be able to support them in other ways!
Invite us to come & speak to you or your group about how we can work together! Call Jana at 218-825-7682 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am so thankful to live in a community that works together to meet the needs of those who are struggling. God bless!