After getting into running and taking a class, Mamie Boling was looking for a 5K to sign up for when she heard about the Resurrection Run.
That was back in 2014, and this grandmother admitted she didn’t even really know anything about Family Promise, the charity that benefits from the proceeds. She just enjoyed the course through Maryville streets and signed up the following year and the year after.
But in the fall of 2017, running and 5Ks weren’t at the top of her to-do list; she was more concerned with the mold in her home that was making her and her young grandson very sick. He has asthma and it only got worse.
Her landlord, Boling said, refused to do anything about the mold, so the family either had to live with it or move out. Where, was the only problem.
That’s when Boling, 53, said she began contacting people and agencies who might be able to help. One she uncovered was Family Promise of Blount County.
“I was online and I don’t even know how it happened but Family Promise popped up on my screen,” Boling said.
She called and found out that indeed Family Promise could help. The nonprofit has an emergency shelter program for homeless families; Boling and her grandson qualified and were brought into the program in September 2017.
Churches are shelters
Families in the program stay at host churches in the community on a rotating basis. That first week for Boling, it was Rio Revolution. She said it was incredible how nice the volunteers were and how welcome she felt. That’s not how she had envisioned it would be. Tell someone you are in a homeless shelter and they envision crowded, dirty conditions, or drunk and drug-addicted individuals.
“I was scared when I went in,” Boling said. “I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be so awesome. I had peace over it. I am thankful I chose to go.”
Family Promise Executive Director Kathi Parkins and her staff helped the family with a budget so they could save up money for a deposit and other expenses in obtaining another place to live. Boling also was part of FP’s transitional housing program in which residents are able to move into homes or apartments owned by Family Promise and pay rent while they seek something permanent.
In the end, Boling successfully completed the program and has a place of her own with her grandson. She said she doesn’t know what would have happened had Family Promise not been there for her.
Family Promise of Blount County started in 2009 and has provided emergency shelter for more than 1,000 people, transitional housing for 40 families and worked with all of the families as they move into permanent housing. More than 70% of the families served have maintained permanent housing for six months after leaving Family Promise programs.
2019 run is April 20
The 2019 Resurrrection Run is fast approaching, on Saturday, April 20, which is the day before Easter. Boling, who works seven days a week, said she hasn’t been able to run much lately, but she will be there for the annual 5K. It means so much more to her now that she’s been in the throes of homelessness and able to climb out with help from Family Promise, she said.
It was Dick Denson’s idea to get the Resurrection Run started years ago. This with be the eighth. He said he approached his church, Monte Vista Baptist, about putting together a family-fun event around Easter time to serve as a fundraiser for charity. Pastor Jerry Mantooth and his congregation were on board.
“We had 400-plus runners that first year,” Denson said. In total, he said the event has been able to raise about $120,000 for Family Promise.
Last year, 700 people participated, but registration is down for 2019. Denson said part of that could be there are more events being held Easter weekend, giving families lots of choices.
That isn’t stopping this group of dedicated organizers and supporters. Denson said he’s running, and he’s 82. His wife, Loretta, also will participate.
One of the more inspirational stories is that of Doris Eaves, of Maryville. She’s participated in all of the Resurrection Runs to date. She will turn 94 in August.
Going the distance
Eaves is a member of Monte Vista Baptist and got involved because it helped create the event. She’s continued the Resurrection Run because of Family’s Promise commitment to the community.
Over the years, she’s walked with church members and other friends. She was a runner years ago, getting started, she said, after having surgery. She and her husband used to both walk and run together. He has since passed away, but Eaves said she loves getting outdoors, seeing the beauty of nature and working for a cause.
Come April 20, this senior adult will be walking with friends for the cause once more. “I’m slow,” she said, “but I finish.”