Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga invited its former and current clients to a job fair on June 10 from 2 - 6 p.m. Over the last year, Family Promise has served more than 700 families, and they invited more than 850 individuals to attend the job fair. The event took place at Family Promise on 1184 Baldwin Street, where hiring managers from Erlanger Health System and Sodexo Quality of Life Services conducted on-the-spot interviews.

Erlanger and Sodexo interviewed employees for various positions in Chattanooga. Attendees explored job opportunities such as environmental services, food services, hospital ambassadors, patient care technicians, patient safety attendants and patient service representatives.

“It was great to talk to Family Promise’s clients about our organization and the opportunities available in a healthcare environment,” said Erlanger Health System human resources director Tammy Cotter. “Getting connected in the community and networking with businesses are vital stepping stones to building a career.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Tennessee’s unemployment rate is going down. But many of Family Promise’s clients have not been able to find consistent employment with reliable hours.

“Family Promise connects individuals and families with the resources they need, and this job fair was part of our effort to connect families in need to excellent employers in the area, like Erlanger and Sodexo,” said executive director of Family Promise of Chattanooga, Jackie Clay. “The goal of this event was to help unemployed people get connected locally and secure a sustainable income to support their families."

Attendees were able to fill out applications and immediately be interviewed for jobs at the event. Some were given offers, pending background checks and other logistics.

“Our company is committed to improving quality of life and providing a great working environment,” said Mary Rohde, vice president of operations at Sodexo. “Our hiring managers were available to talk about the diverse range of opportunities we have available for all experience levels.”

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Why are you on the Family Promise board?

I am on the board to serve however I can—I was recruited by the current board president, Brooke Smith. We've been close friends since college, and I did a little volunteer work for her at another local nonprofit a few years ago. I believe that helping those who are vulnerable, or whose basic needs are unmet, is a moral imperative.

Why do you believe in Family Promise's mission?

Helping families with children to procure stable housing and develop sustainable income today is one of the best ways to help our community now, as well as in the future.

How can others join and support the Family Promise mission?

There are so many ways to help! Volunteers may do anything from grant writing to fundraising, to providing our guests with transportation to appointments or job interviews.

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Updated: Apr 26

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working diligently to create a new shelter model. Traditionally, our clients have sheltered with church partners at night and at our Day Center during the day. Due to COVID-19, many of our church partners could not continue as hosts.

In response, we have been working with our former board president, Craig Smith, who agreed to purchase two homes that he will rent to Family Promise through a multi-year lease. We set several parameters for the right property: 1) It had to fit into our budget, 2) It had to be in a safe neighborhood, 3) It had to be on a bus route, and 4) It had to be no more than 15 minutes from our Day Center.

After many months of searching, we located two houses that share the same lot (one two-bedroom and one four-bedroom) that meet all our requirements, and Craig closed on the houses this past Tuesday, April 20th. Renovations will take a few months, but our estimated move-in is July 2021.

Having houses that we manage will allow us to shelter at least two families at all times. This new model will be the beginning of a major permanent operational change at Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga. This is a more sustainable model for us, and one that other Family Promise affiliates in our region are considering. When the houses are complete, you will all be invited for a tour and open house.

We are eternally grateful to First Church of the Nazarene, The Well SDA, and Collegedale SDA for hosting over the past year. Your generosity and sacrifice will always be remembered. We are also grateful to all our church partners that have provided hot meals and words of encouragement to our sheltering families.

Moving forward, we hope that our church partners will continue to serve sheltering families by providing weekly meal drop-offs to the houses. If you are willing to continue in this capacity, please contact Ruth Votava at and let her know which week your church can prepare meals.

This week (through Friday, April 30), we will be doing demolition work on the two houses. If you would like to volunteer, please email Jackie Clay at with your availability. If you can volunteer, bring gloves, pry bars, safety glasses, hammers, sledge hammers or any other tools that might help.

If you can’t work on the demolition but would like to help us get these homes ready for families, please consider reviewing our wish list and making a donation.

Thank you for your desire and your willingness to serve. Your partnership means the world to us.

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