Families in our community need help. It has been a long time, probably 80 years, since families in America needed as much help as they need now. That may have even been a true statement before the pandemic, but it certainly is now. As recently as 2018 studies showed that 50% of children would see their parents get a divorce. As of 2019 here in Forsyth County specifically, 21% of children are food insecure, meaning they don’t have access to affordable and nutritious food. If that isn’t bad enough, 25% of children in Forsyth County live in poverty.
I don’t know where those numbers stand now in 2021 while we are in the middle of a pandemic, but I can’t imagine they are any better.
The pandemic has, and will continue to, affect and hurt other family dynamics. As we know, all kids in our public schools in Forsyth County were out of school for over half of a school year learning virtually. There are still students who have not been allowed to return to in-person environments. We can have our own opinions on how decisions were made and whether or not you agree with them, but at the end of the day kids are behind. No one knows for certain what the long term impacts will be, but it is widely recognized that children from broken homes and impoverished families have, and will continue to be the most affected.
I say all of that because it is important to realize that there are families who are hurting right here in our community more than I have the capacity to fully understand. All families are hurting in one way or another though. From families who have lost income due to the economic impact from the pandemic. To seniors who are missing out on everything that makes senior year so exciting. To families struggling with the loss of loved ones. We all hurt, it just looks a little different for all of us.
While there are things we can and are doing as a church and through Bridging the Gap to try to make as much of an impact in our community as we can, there is only so much we can do today to impact the city and the greater community in our area.
About 2 years ago Patrick and I sat down with a guy named Don Schmidt, the Family Pastor at Calvary Baptist, to talk about how Bridges and other churches in our community could support and equip families. Don had a vision for a collective of churches pulling together their resources and unique abilities to make a difference in families across the Triad. After a few other meetings with him and other churches in the area “Great Families of the Triad” was formed. The pandemic put a lot of plans for various events on hold, but GFT is finally ready to launch their first event on Facebook Live here in less than a couple of weeks.
It is amazing to me to see the impact that we have had, especially through BTG in the communities we have served in. But our reach, our impact and quite frankly our resources have limitations. But when we partner with 16 local churches and 13 amazing local ministries that already have their own communities within the area that they are impacting, and who have different skills and resources that they can lend and share to help impact the greater community, that’s special.
I would love for any of you who are married to join us on Facebook Live for GFT’s first event, 5 Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage hosted by Dr. Gary Chapman. It will be on GFT’s Facebook page here:
We will share the event on our Facebook page as well.
I am excited for the first event, but more importantly I am excited to see the Church come together to help families in our community thrive. Our community depends on it. Our next generation depends on it.