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Family Promise fundraiser May 1
Event for Grant County homeless-families organization includes folk singer, silent auction
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Family Promise of Grant County will hold a May Day fundraiser dinner and concert at First English Lutheran Church, 215 W. Pine St., Platteville, Friday, May 1.

Dinner with a free-will donation is at 5:30 p.m., with a silent auction. The acoustic folk concert with Johnsmith is at 7 p.m.

“Family Promise of Grant County started a year ago during a conversation about homelessness in Grant County,” said Rev. Michael Short of First English Lutheran Church. “As a Family Promise affiliate, our group will focus on assisting families experiencing homelessness. Generally homeless shelters separate families with the men going to one shelter with the women and children at another shelter.”

Family Promise’s work will allow the Grant County Homeless Coalition to focus on individual homeless persons. There are two individual rooms to house homeless individuals in all of Grant County, both in Platteville — one at First Congregational United Church of Christ, the other at Lutheran Church of Peace.

Family Promise is working toward three goals, one of which has been accomplished — finding a day center for a base of operations, in the former convent at St. Clement Catholic Church in Lancaster. Family Promise has also found 10 of the 12 churches it needs to host families for one week at a time four times a year, plus seven other churches to support the host churches.

“Family Promise with its focus on families will provide shelter in churches across Grant County for homeless families allowing them to stay together,” said Short. “They will be house overnight in churches and during the day will go to school or to their jobs or to the Day Center to get support as they search for jobs, get budget counseling and seek permanent housing.”

Family Promise’s projected startup budget is $95,000, of which more than $25,000 has been raised so far.

“As we meet our fundraising goals we will be hiring a day center manager/case worker who will work with the families in the program,” said Short. “The day center manager will offer the families the support they need to move from homelessness to permanent housing. Even after the families move out of the program they will continue to receive support so they do not fall back into homelessness in the future.”

Johnsmith has been sharing his folk music across the U.S. and abroad for more than 30 years at festivals, clubs, and house concerts. In addition to being a Kerrville New Folk Winner, Johnsmith has released seven solo CDs to rave reviews, leads musical tours to Ireland, teaches songwriting, and has served as a staff songwriter in Nashville.

Johnsmith’s latest CD is “The Longing Road,” released in 2014, including elements of folk, bluegrass, Americana and blues.

“John has a big heart, and his heart is in the right place,” said Joanne Berardi, one fot the organizers of the event. “Not only is he a wonderful musician, but he is an amazing storyteller. He sings the kind of songs about real people with real life issues.  He seems to be the perfect person to help bring our message home, and support such a worthy event.”

Tickets for the concert are $20 for adults and $10 for children. For more information or tickets, call 348-3022.