Saturday, November 10, 2007

Homeless help group is in time oftransition

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Its purpose is to help homeless families find places they can call their own.
After providing them with shelter and food for a month or so, Family Promise of East Bell County finds its success as homeless families secure steady jobs.
But as the non-profit organization faces the close of its third year, it finds itself needing help from the community.
Nobody's available to man the Family Promise office.
'We need volunteers to work at the office and help with administration work,' said the Rev. Pat Dietrich, Family Promise board president and interim director. 'We're in transition, right now. We need help for everything from filing to stocking to answering phones.' This period of transition started two weeks ago, the Rev. Pat Dietrich said, with the departure of the two individuals who had been managing the daily operations at Family Promise.
Rick Miller-Cheney, the man who had been the paid director of the organization since its inception, no longer holds his post. And longtime volunteer Alta Kemp, 88, the woman who was the receptionist, said she decided it was time for her to retire.
The Rev. Dietrich said Miller-Cheney's absence is due to a vote from the board of directors.
'He wasn't doing his job very well,' the Rev. Dietrich said.
She also said Miller-Cheney needed time to cope with the recent death of his mother.
Miller-Cheney wasn't available for comment. When contacted, his wife answered the phone and said official comment should come from the Rev. Dietrich.
'The important part is to move on,' the Rev. Dietrich said. 'We're in the process of looking for someone to replace Rick. But in the meantime, we're going to need some help to keep things running.'
Anyone interested in helping Family Promise with its mission can contact the Rev. Dietrich at First Lutheran Church, where she is pastor. The church number is (254) 773-9975.
In addition to volunteers, Family Promise, as always, will welcome monetary contributions and donations of furniture, cleaning supplies and tools.

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