United Way in Fort Smith will be launching its 100 Families initiative in Crawford County.
Van Buren First Baptist Church will host the launch of the county-wide initiative on Wednesday. Many organizations and groups around the county have joined forces to form a community-based team with a goal of helping local families transition from crisis to career.
"Our church is continually looking for ways to serve our community and be the hands and feet of Jesus to people who find themselves in great need," said First Baptist Church Lead Pastor Chris Johnson. "I’m excited about the possibilities of the 100 families initiative because we believe that Jesus offers the ultimate hope. We want people to experience that hope and find a better way of life for their families. Our church already partners with a handful of other community organizations involved with this initiative so it is a natural fit for us to host this event."
During the launch, many different organizations will sign a Declaration of Participation stating they will work together to help struggling families. 100 Families’ main goal is to help struggling parents keep their families together and safely reunite families that have been separated.
In a press release, CEO and President of United Way of Fort Smith Eddie Lee Herndon said 100 Families has been a "very effective program" in Sebastian County and they have "no doubt that it will be a great success in Crawford County."
"100 Families goes directly to the heart of reuniting families, parents, and children," Herndon said. "Under the direction of Restore Hope, our community has united in a marvelous collaboration to provide a solution and path for families to stay together, to heal and grow, and to reunite those families that have been pulled apart. In addition to the numerous community partners that have committed to help, we need the entire community to wrap their arms around these families and donate time and resources to help hold these families together."
100 Families began in 2019 as a calibration between Restore Hope Arkansas and the United Way of Fort Smith Area. Restore Hope Arkansas is a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce the number of children in foster care and the rate that offenders return to prison.
On Aug. 25, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new office in Van Buren for the United Way organization.