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2016 Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service

Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance

Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service Raises over $21,000 for Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network (SPIHN)

Watch the Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service, hosted at First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg, by clicking the video below.


SPIHN to receive $21,000 to help homeless families

By Allison M. Roberts, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

More than $20,000 was raised Tuesday night for a program that helps homeless families get back on their feet.

This year’s Spartanburg Community Thanksgiving Service at First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, sponsored by The Spartanburg County Foundation and the Spartanburg Interfaith Alliance, raised money for the Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network, a local nonprofit that assists homeless children and their families.

At the service, $13,555.01 was collected from those in attendance. The Spartanburg County Foundation gave $5,000, and an anonymous donor pledged to match $2,500 of it. All total, $21,055.01 will be donated to SPIHN.

“The bar has been set very high this year, perhaps close to doubling the take from last year,” said the Rev. Sally Beth Shore of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Spartanburg, just before announcing the amount.

Shore said it takes about $5,000 a year to support each family that goes through SPIHN.

“I imagine they’d be deeply touched if they knew of the work of this community coming together just for one night to make this all happen in the coming year,” Shore said.

The Rev. J. Edward Morris of the Episcopal Church of the Advent urged those who attended to give generously to help those families who have unexpectedly found themselves in transition.

Morris recalled a list of people from the Bible who found themselves in some kind of transition at some point in their lives. He said he kept thinking of what it’s like to be without a home, and hoped those in attendance would help SPIHN serve those families.

“SPIHN knows about transition. It knows about the difficulties and challenges that face family,” Morris said. “I’m pleased, proud and humbled as the Episcopal Church of the Advent to be one of the 16 churches in this community that hosts SPIHN families a week at a time. They move in and we host them, feeding and providing a warm, safe place to lay their head.”

Beth Rutherford, executive director of Spartanburg Interfaith Hospitality Network, said she was honored to be part of the service and talked about the organization’s work.

SPIHN helps provide life skills to homeless families, and it works with 16 local churches that provide overnight shelters and food. Volunteers from the churches have converted classrooms into sleeping areas so families can stay together during that moment of crisis, Rutherford said.

If the adults in the family aren’t working, they come to the day center, where a case manager works with them on life skills such as budgeting, financial responsibility and parenting, Rutherford said.

The goal is to help them get back on their feet and teach them the necessary skills to be self-sufficient once they leave SPIHN, Rutherford said.

“We do everything we can do to help our families become sustainable once they leave SPIHN,” Rutherford said.