Lawmakers highlight work of faith-based groups in social media campaign

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/25/15, 12:10 pm

Every night, the Hope Center in Kentucky opens the doors of its shelters to 800 men, each with a different story.

“We see men who’ve lost their jobs, had medical catastrophes, and have been in addiction long enough it’s made them homeless,” said Brooke Raby, Hope Center’s development manager.

Beginning with only one building 22 years ago, the nonprofit now has several service outlets around the state. “It’s really about the community,” Raby said. “Turning people who have fallen on hard times into self-sustaining members of the community and helping them give back to the community.”

The organization’s focus on the community made it one of the first to be recognized by a congressman in the #FaithitForward Initiative. U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., posted on Twitter using the hashtag, saying, “Hope Center helps individuals rebuild their lives from homelessness and addiction. I’m grateful for their work in #KY6.”

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and other members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus launched the #FaithitForward initiative on Tuesday to feature on Facebook and Twitter stories from their districts on the positive impact people of faith have in their communities.

“Everyday, people of faith serve tirelessly behind the scenes to better our communities,” said Forbes, founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. “As we have seen countless times throughout our nation’s history, most recently in the aftermath of the tragedy in Charleston, faith motivated by compassion and love moves us forward.”

Lawmakers participating in the social media campaign include Reps. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Steve Russell, R-Okla.

Some private organizations also are using the campaign to share their clients’ stories. “People of faith … are people who have a genuine concern for people in the community,” said Jeremy Dys of The Liberty Institute. Kerri Kupec of the Alliance Defending Freedom agreed: “It’s great for people to see others living out their faith in the community.”

For the Hope Center in Kentucky, the initiative is a symbol of the support it appreciates.

“We’re excited about receiving recognition from lawmakers,” Raby said. “It takes a combination of lawmakers and individuals to make something like the Hope Center work.”

Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

Read more from this writer