A number of youth from various area churches created collection boxes designed to look like houses.
During the duration of the campaign 12 boxes were selected to be finalists and were placed at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
The house made by Hunter Godfrey, a youth at North Cleveland Baptists Church, raised the greatest amount of funds for homeless aid, and North Cleveland Baptist Pastor Dr. Jay McCluskey, Amy Wilkins, director of children and pre-school ministries and Kathy Godfrey, Hunter’s grandmother accepted the award on his behalf.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis presented the award during a ceremony recognizing all the churches and youth who participated in the campaign.
Godfrey was also given special recognition for his efforts during the church’s Sunday service.
“We are really proud of Hunter. He is an outstanding kid and really took this to heart,” McCluskey said. “Everyone in our children’s ministry did such a great job.”
The second-place winner was from Benton United Methodist Church and coming in third was Tasso Baptist Church.
Congregations participating in the event included: Benton United Methodist Church, Durkee Road Church of God of Prophesy, First Prospect, Grace Is Our Victory, New Prospect Cumberland, North Cleveland Baptist, North Cleveland Church of God, the St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic, Tasso Baptist, Tasso United Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church. Each congregation submitted one decorated house for consideration and community display.
“The purpose of the project was to create a ‘teachable moment’ for parents and congregations to address the causes and effects of homelessness with their children and increase awareness on how they can help through the Family Promise network,” said Joe Semak, a Family Promise representative.
Family Promise is an organization dedicated to the fight against homelessness. By partnering with local churches the organization helps families get back on their feet.
According to both Semak and McCluskey the organization is still seeking three more host churches to help be part of the homeless aid effort.
“It felt like a great fit for our congregation. We have people here who have a heart for that ministry and the resources and space to really help these folks,” McCluskey said.
All houses submitted to the Kids with a Heart Campaign will be on display at the Family Promise of Bradley County day center when it opens. The winning house will be used at all fundraising events for the year.
For information regarding volunteering, donating or becoming a partnering church, visit www.familypromisebradley.org.