Pam Hawn is our Executive Director. She is a Wife and Mom with a huge heart for her community. Throughout Pam’s life she has served with many outreaches geared towards the homeless…growing up in New York, developed Pam’s heart at an early age for the hurting and the lost. Since moving to Florida in 1981 her passion grew to help those with less. Pam continued being involved with organizations who shared her same passion for the homeless. In spring of 2009 when our economy was sluggish, Pam and her husband, Mark recognized that there was going to be a change of lifestyle. God laid on her heart to remain focused even as it was getting harder for her and Mark to provide for their three children, how were the parents in the homeless community providing for their children?
In August of 2009 Day of Hope was birthed. A community outreach project that would serve 200 homeless children with all the basics to get ready for back to school. A project hosted by Pam’s home church and offered completely free to the families, but would require an army of volunteers and much funding. The project was a huge success: with over 200 volunteers and over $25,000 raised a Day of Hope was provided. Each preselected/prequalified child received a medical exam, dental exam/cleaning and floss treatment, resource for a free eye exam and reader glasses if necessary, haircut, school and family portrait, new backpack filled with all the needed school supplies, a care bag of personal care items, a $50 gift card to Bealls department store for new clothes/uniforms, a $25 gift card to Payless for new shoes, a personal safety id card from the sheriff dept, etc… meals were provided throughout the day and fun things to do like nail painting, interaction with the police and their motorcycles, the local fire department brought an engine and an ambulance. Many individuals and agencies were present to share invaluable resources. It was a day that gave parents peace and kids hope!
From there a connection was made and it was important to the Day of Hope leaders to continue a relationship in the lives of these children. A Day4Hope was not to be a one day / one touch event; but rather the introduction to new formed relationships. Churches are taking it past the day by inviting the families back for church service, Sunday school, youth group, providing Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas gifts …helping them move into better living arrangements, helping with car repair and job searches, …sponsoring kids in sports programs and for holiday programs. The list goes on…investing in the children; that’s what it’s all about. Making a difference in the lives of these students.
A manual has been written in detail of how to do a Day4Hope and distribution has gone out, even internationally. Many now are sharing Pam’s heartbeat for the homeless children in their own communities. My personal dream would be to have a Day4Hope in every community, Pam states, I live in a rich community, most of us do…we live in a rich country. The idea that there are homeless children breaks my heart. We look at third world countries and sadly expect to see the poverty, but in our own backyards when there is such an obvious abundance of wealth and children are going without, that is what stirs my holy discontent.
2009: 1st annual, the back to school community outreach project is launched, served 200
2010: all the same took place…just bigger and better, served 250
2011: another church came on board to host, now 2 locations, served 350 children
2012: hosted by 3 campuses served 600 children
2013: 5th annual, we launched Manatee County and together with Sarasota; now 2 counties, hosted 5 events, served 1,379 students
2014: 8 events, served 1,849 students!
2015: 10 events, 12 partnering churches, served 2,080 students!
2016: 12 events, 19 partnering churches, served 2,211 students!
2017: 13 events, 31 partnering churches, served 2,324 students!
2018: 14 events, 46 partnering churches, served 2,607 students, w/ an army of approx. 3,000 volunteers!
2019: 17 events, 46 partnering churches, served 2,865 students, w/ an army of approx. 4,250 volunteers!
2020: 12th annual, 18 events, many partnering churches, served 3,000 students, w/ an army of hundreds volunteers!
2021: 13th annual, 20 events, many partnering churches, served 3,051 students, w/ an army of thousands of volunteers!