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Family Promise day center opens in Lancaster
Volunteers, donations, hosts sought
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Family Promise of Grant County opened the doors of its Day Center at the former St. Clement Convent in Lancaster Monday.

Family Promise of Grant County is an affiliate of a national program that responds to the growing need to provide shelter, meals and comprehensive support services to families experiencing homelessness. 

The program unites congregations from area churches and other community members to assist these families. The goal is to help families achieve sustainable independence through a community based response, working with volunteers and more than 16 faith communities throughout the county.  

The Day Center welcomed more than 100 members from the community to its open house Feb. 21.   

The director of Family Promise of Grant County is Hannah Campbell-Gustafson of Darlington, a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, where she attained dual graduate degrees, Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work.

The first of the 10 churches in Grant County to host families overnight was Lancaster United Methodist Church. “Thanks to a significant donation from the Carson Alcorn Memorial Fund, our Carpenter’s Crew was able to remodel space in the lower level of the church to get ready for our guests,” said Kristin Holman-Steffel, one of the church’s coordinators.

“We also received a substantial grant from the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation to cover startup costs such as carpets, room dividers and home furnishings needed for our overnight guests. The community came through in a big way.  There were several donations of towels, sheets, blankets, school supplies, etc”  

Holman-Steffel and coordinator Mary Rasmussen have rallied more than 35 volunteers to help with hosting the first week. “So many wonderful folks have felt the call to help with this project, it was easy to rally the help we needed,” said Holman-Steffel.

“Local churches and organizations continue to offer support and encouragement to Family Promise of Grant County,” said Rev. Michael Short of First English Lutheran Church in Platteville. “They understand there is a need across the county and they have a desire to help families.” 

Donations of diapers, personal hygiene products such as deodorant, shampoo, feminine hygiene products and toilet paper are always welcome. Another need is Pack-n-Plays with sheets. Campbell-Gustafson needs volunteer back-up drivers in the mornings and late afternoons, as well as “Office Angels” to spend time in the Day Center on weekends and for smaller shifts on weekdays.  

Host congregations throughout the county need volunteers to serve meals, provide hospitality, and spend the night. St. Clement Church is the next parish to host after Lancaster UMC, March 6–13. Contact Bill Manthe, 723-4990, to volunteer time or items for the St. Clement hosting week, or Campbell-Gustafson, 723-3355 to volunteer at the Day Center or as a back-up driver, or to donate items.