Year 2020 represented one of the most challenging years in the history of Family Renew Community. It also represented the hardest year I have experienced in my 30+ year administrative career. Because of COVID-19, year 2020 became a year unexpected. We wondered and worried how would we fare in such a difficult year. How would we keep clients and staff safe and healthy, how would we raise enough funds to keep our doors open, how would we navigate the changing COVID climate? But God is more than able and willing to Bless that which has been dedicated to His Glory!
This year was not without impact and battle scars. We lost our dear friend Barbara Bradley, past Board member and Secret Attic Manager as a result of contracting the COVID-19 virus. We also saw the retirement of Dody Gallo, Accounting Staff and Dorothy Cooper, DeLand Program Assistant. And, Kenesha Curry, Office Coordinator announced this week that she will be leaving us to take on a new role helping those in need working with Volusia County. But as we say goodbye to old friends we say hello to some new members of our team, Carly Ghigliotty, Accountant and Christopher Whitewood, Thrift Store Manager. We are also actively recruiting for the replacement Program Assistant and Office Coordinator. So we will trust that the Lord has the right persons to fill these important positions.
I worried that our clients may not be up to the added burdens of contending with COVID. But I was pleasantly surprised by the successes our families achieved regardless of their overwhelming circumstances. I wanted to share some examples of how amazing our clients have done during this challenging time.
The drawing appearing at the top of this report was drawn by one of our Mothers. She had been through some severe trauma before coming to FRC and part of her healing was through painting. She would draw and paint to express how she was feeling and it allowed her to deal with some deep issues. These issues often became barriers to her success resulting in her homelessness. She routinely sends pictures to people who donated food and supplies to FRC as a thank you for their support. This picture was created for the Program Manager as a thank you for her supporting her through her trauma recovery. The Mom is excelling as she continues to face her fears and has grown as she learns that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.
One of our past Veteran Families had a life changing experience at FRC. They describe how after leaving the military they were destitute and living in their car. They had no place to go and it seemed like all of the doors they knocked on for help refused them help, until they arrived at FRC. Now the kids are doing great. We helped Dad get his military disability pension and is now training to become a manager at one of the local Ace Hardware stores. Mom has finished her schooling for her real estate license and is waiting to take her licensing exam. They shared that prior to coming to FRC they had considered driving off a bridge if they did not get any assistance. So in their mind, FRC was truly a life saver and gave them the time and room to exhale and regroup.
Some of the other testimonies from clients include;
"Family Renew has been helpful and such a blessing and the staff have been extraordinarily helpful in guiding my successfulness...out of homelessness and to make way for a better future for my children and I..".
" Family Renew has encouraged me to thrive to push forward - even when I felt like giving up. It's been nothing but a blessing and has had made me look at life differently. The staff have always had an open door and a listening ear."
"Family Renew has been a tremendous blessing- being able to sleep at night. Also being here has encouraged me to continue in the right direction. It has provided my son and I security and hope for a better future to be self-sufficient. It has been a safe place for us - providing guidance while being non-judgmental. I can't thank God enough for Family Renew as a whole".
" Family Renew has helped us obtain small milestones. It has been a blessing having a roof over our heads, providing a safe place for our little family. It has helped us communicate better. The program has also helped us lead us in the right direction with getting back on our own feet'.
When some of the families were asked “What Family Renew Community Means to You”- the responses included:
“Some people just go the extra mile.”
“START – where you are
USE – what you have
Do – what you can”
“Solace, gratitude, stability”
“She believed she could, so she did…”
One single Mom put it in a way that truly touched my heart:
“Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” 1 Corinthians 16:13
All of the staff stand ready to serve those who the Lord puts in our path. And I have often shared something I have discovered working here at FRC, “We are good at what we do, but we aren’t this good!” Because the Lord is on our side things continue to prosper. And regardless of all the things that were thrown at us as a ministry this past year we still remain victorious, to the Glory of God! I was reminded of this by the words of the single Mom: We stood in faith, remained courageous regardless of the circumstances and we remained strong even if we felt like we wanted to give up! And, how do I know this, by hearing these testimonies and seeing the 94% success rate over the last three years of families remaining stably housed and gainfully employed after leaving FRC.
I want to thank the staff for their dedication and commitment to our families and to our Trustees and Board of Directors for their guidance and strength over this turbulent time. I believe the Lord brought the right people together in one place, “for a time such as this!”
I pray often for our Staff and their families, our Trustees and Board of Directors, and especially for our clients. I pray:
“The Lord make His face shine upon you with favor, And, be gracious to you surrounding you with lovingkindness;”
Numbers 6:25 AMP
In His Service,
Rev. Tony Deobil, Executive Director
December 9, 2020