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Family Promise of SCV picks up steam

Posted: April 4, 2011 3:28 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Local business owners and organizations have recently stepped up with generous donations to ensure that Family Promise of SCV will successfully open its doors to homeless families this spring.

Family Promise of SCV is incredibly grateful for the support from the Mother Joseph Fund of Providence Health & Services, George's Bistro of Valencia and the SCV Wine Fest.

On Tuesday March 29th, Family Promise of SCV received a $20,000 grant from the Mother Joseph Fund of Providence Health & Services.

"We chose to provide Family Promise of SCV funding because the work of this organization closely matches the work of Mother Joseph, the founder of Providence Health and Services, of reaching out to the poor and vulnerable through compassionate service," said Sister Colleen Settles, chief mission integration officer for Providence.

"Housing for families, whether temporary or permanent, is a basic need and a vital ingredient to good health," she added. "Family Promise uses the talents and resources of volunteers within the community to help vulnerable and homeless families reach sustainability and independence."

Funds received through the Providence grant, George's Bistro and SCV Wine Fest have further propelled Family Promise of SCV towards opening day, which is currently proposed for mid-Spring. When Family Promise is ready to open, Santa Clarita United Methodist Church will be the first congregation to host homeless families for one week.

Family Promise of SCV is an interfaith network of 24 host and support congregations committed to providing local homeless families with help and hope. About 13 host congregations will host 3-4 homeless families on a weekly rotating basis.

During the month of February, George's Bistro in Valencia donated 10 percent of their Wednesday night sales to Family Promise of SCV.

Owner George Rifold's heart for the homeless grew while he was managing his other restaurant in Santa Monica. When he saw homeless individuals around his business, he always felt compelled to help.

"Whenever I can or could, I always helped them even if it meant a couple of bucks or a sandwich -- whatever I could do," he said. "It has been a soft spot with me for years."

But after George opened up his restaurant in Valencia, he was shocked to learn there are so many local homeless individuals and families in the SCV.

"I really didn't even know we had a problem up here," he said.

When George heard what Family Promise of SCV was up to, he felt it was a "no-brainer" to support the organization. George believes this is just the beginning of a long partnership with Family Promise.

"I definitely want to do it again on an ongoing basis," he said.

On Feb. 12, the first-ever SCV Wine Fest raised about $4,000 for Family Promise of SCV. At the time the executive committee of the first SCV Wine Fest was considering local charities, the name Family Promise of SCV popped up, according to Joel Fisher, founder and CEO of SCV Wine Fest.

"I was interested because this was a fairly new group in the community but already with a groundswell of support," said Fisher.

"I did know there were homeless families in the valley, from friends in the area," he added. "What I didn't realize was the scope of the problem."

SCV Wine Fest brought nearly 1,000 attendees to the venue at Embassy Suites in Valencia, offering guests wine tasting from about 20 different vendors. A silent auction and VIP dinner following the wine festival benefited Family Promise.

Fisher said he would like to partner again with Family Promise of SCV next year.


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