On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Franklin’s Promise Coalition, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of volunteers and donors who contributed to Franklin’s Promise Coalition on behalf of the victims of the Eastpoint Fire on June 24.

There were convoys of trucks full of clothes, linens, mattresses, household goods and furniture arriving from as far as Pennsylvania and Ohio. High school kids spent their summer camp time organizing donations. People from all over the country ordered furniture and supplies delivered through online retailers. We organized telethons and fundraisers, and the community answered. We called on all our sources for funds and matching grants to add to the donations. The generosity of goods, money and time was truly awesome.

The money raised enabled Franklin’s Promise Coalition to support Franklin County Emergency Management in meeting the immediate needs of victims and rescue workers, as well as to provide temporary shelter for human and animal victims after the fire. Lots were prepared with power poles, water and sewer hookups. Victims settled into intermediate housing in travel trailers and apartments with the help of volunteers. Furniture was delivered by volunteers to individuals moving into permanent new homes. Hundreds of volunteers selflessly gave thousands of hours of their time sorting, organizing and distributing the mountains of goods that were donated. As planned, the remainder of the funds has been identified by Franklin County to support efforts to purchase permanent housing for the fire victims.

Franklin’s Promise Coalition has served as a part of the Emergency Services Function for Franklin County, coordinating donations and volunteers, for over 10 years, working through hurricanes and disasters. It has been my personal honor to serve as the chair of the Unmet Needs Committee for eight years. During all those years, this was the most amazing outpouring of love and concern imaginable. I can personally testify that God is alive and strong in Franklin County.

Franklin's Promise is steadfast in our commitment to serve our community as we have done for over 18 years. While our role in ensuring all Eastpoint Fire victims have temporary housing in place has been completed, our work in the larger community is far from over. We are committed to our mission:

“To improve the quality of life for residents, the Coalition will serve as an advocate for the community and provide a forum for collaborating with service providers, churches, institutions, and volunteers to: improve access to quality services and eliminate disparities of service; streamline and prevent the duplication and fragmentation of services; identify unmet needs and determine strategies to meet those needs; educate individuals on challenges, resources and opportunities; and promote positive youth development while emphasizing the reduction of substance abuse and other negative behaviors."

The true reason we exist is to serve people. Our goal is to empower people to be problem solvers. With the support of our community, we believe we have done that well during the aftermath of the Eastpoint Fire. We know there is much work remaining. We will continue to focus on feeding the needy, taking care of Franklin County’s families with children and senior citizens, fighting multigenerational poverty, and supporting education and job training for opportunity youth.

We invite you to join our team; our volunteers are the backbone of the organization. Please call me at 850-524-1153 if you want to be a part of our organization or for more details.

Tamara Allen

Chair, Franklin’s Promise Coalition