St. Peter's to Raise Thousands for Family Promise, HUGS in February

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Monday, January 28th, 2019

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Skidaway Island is gearing up for its annual fundraising event, The Market at 3 West Ridge. Proceeds from the three-day ticketed shopping boutique and plant sale including a $5 entrance fee (good for all three days), individual and corporate sponsorships, proceeds from lunch and plant sales, and 15% of vendor sales are tallied and divided between two carefully selected youth-oriented nonprofits. Since 2012, The Market has donated $225,000 to at-risk children’s charities in Savannah. Last year’s market raised $68,000 that was divided between two local beneficiaries. The 2019 Market will benefit Family Promise of Greater Savannah and Heads-Up Guidance Services.

Now entering its eighth year, The Market continues St. Peter’s outreach tradition of volunteering time, talent and treasure, as over 120 women and men work together to make the event a success. Each year, 20 handpicked national vendors are selected to display and sell their boutique goods including stylish and unique clothing and accessories for women, men and children; unusual home decorative and garden accessories; linens; and classic and contemporary jewelry. The Market also includes a plant sale and a luncheon made and served by volunteers. Over the past five years, The Market has grown in credibility with national vendors and in popularity and with over 800 women and men attending and shopping annually. 

And the beneficiaries of all this hard work are organizations that support some of Savannah’s most vulnerable children. St. Peter’s has long been a supporter of Family Promise of Greater Savannah through the nonprofit organization’s Interfaith Hospitality Network of Coastal Georgia. Family Promise, which works to help families who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness, has been operational in the Coastal Empire for over 20 years. The charity expands its mission beyond providing meals and shelter for homeless families. They also offer family mentoring, homelessness-prevention programs and services, and initiatives to address the underlying causes of homelessness.

Heads-Up Guidance Services, or HUGS for short, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that makes mental and behavioral health counseling and addiction recovery services available and affordable to anyone who is in need. HUGS, like Family Promise, is funded by community donations and operated by local volunteers. According to Ellen Bradley, who serves on HUGS' Executive Board of Directors, the organization focuses heavily on aiding youth through programs like its Youth Empowerment Services (YES), which offers free group sessions to clients between the ages of 12 and 18.

"Our all-volunteer organization is filling critical mental-health needs in our community. This past year, HUGS has served an increasing number of adolescents and teens, and has focused on developing more counseling programs to meet their needs,” Bradley said.

In 2017, Family Promise of Greater Savannah achieved great success by assisting over 400 households, which was possible through contributions and community support from churches like St. Peter’s. The church is a host congregation, meaning they provide overnight lodging and meals for three families for one week at a time every three to four months.

Churches that join the vast Interfaith Hospital Network provide a variety of services and assistance. While many lovingly shelter and feed families who are going through Family Promise’s program, others provide financial support, donations of furniture and other household goods, volunteers to assist at the day center and more.

Without this array of host and support congregations, Family Promise wouldn’t be able to make such a tremendous impact on the community, according to Family Promise Executive Director Katrina Bostick.

“To know that I have this incredible network of reliable congregations and volunteers that I can call on for support, assistance, shelter or any number of other items I’ve needed for our families over the years – it’s truly remarkable and humbling,” Bostick said. “Isle of Hope UMC and all of our Interfaith Hospitality Network members are truly lifesavers, and I’m so fortunate to have seen the results of the blessings they bestow on those who need it most.”

The Market at 3 West Ridge takes place at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Skidaway Island from 5-7:30 p.m. February 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. February 13, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. February 14. Wine and cheese will be served on opening night, and lunches will be available for purchase on Feb. 13 and 14.