Dinniman salutes volunteers in bringing family homeless shelter to southern Chester County

FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIASen. Andrew Dinniman presents a proclamation to Sue Minarchi, executive of Family Promise of Southern Chester County Thursday night.
FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIASen. Andrew Dinniman presents a proclamation to Sue Minarchi, executive of Family Promise of Southern Chester County Thursday night.

WEST GROVE >> Sen. Andrew Dinniman personally thanked about 100 volunteers at Family Promise of Southern Chester County Wednesday night for helping homeless families during the past year.

Family Promise of Southern Chester County, which has 550 volunteers, marked its one year anniversary. Since Family Promise of Southern Chester County opened last year, 12 families were served representing 16 adults and 26 children.

“Neither history nor our God is going to evaluate us on how wealthy we are,” Dinniman said. “It’s going to be whether we are good and decent people who understand when you have an abundant harvest like we do in this county it is our absolute obligation to share that harvest with others. And that’s what (volunteers at Family Promise) are doing.”

Dinniman said volunteers at Family Problem solved a serious problem of aiding homeless families, something government was unable to do, even though the government chips in occasionally with funding.

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Sue Minarchi, executive director of Family Promise, said that to date, Family Promise has served 17 families representing 22 adults and 38 children. Thirteen have moved into permanent housing. Average stay is 49 days, under the national average of 60 days. “When families move to permanent housing, we try to provide them with all the household goods and furniture that they need,” she said. “We have worked with families to find stable employment. We have worked with families to create a sustainable monthly budget. We have worked with families to find affordable housing in very expensive Southern Chester County.”

More than 430 students in the Unionville, Kennett, Avon Grove and Oxford school districts impacted by homelessness during 2014. There are no shelter beds to keep families together during an already stressful time, Minarchi said.

Housing costs in southern Chester County are far above national average, often requiring up to 80 percent of paychecks in low-income families to go for housing, she said.

The Family Promise Resource Center is located in West Grove. There are 13 local churches that assist on a revolving schedule to provide shelter and other assistance. They are: Unionville Presbyterian Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Willowdale Chapel, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Christian Life Center, Episcopal Church of the Advent, Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Oxford United Methodist Church, Kennett Fiends Meeting, West Grove United Methodist church, The Barn Vineyard Church, Sacred Heart Parish and Presbyterian Church of Kennett Square. There are also 14 support churches.

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Fran Maye

Fran Maye is an award-winning journalist and a graduate of Shippensburg University. He and his wife Marianne live in East Marlborough. He enjoys golf and is a 4.0 tennis player. Reach the author at kennettpaper@gmail.com or follow Fran on Twitter: @kennettpaper.