Scott Lewis moves on after 15 years at FACC
FREEPORT — Scott Lewis will walk out the doors of the Freeport Area Church Cooperative on Friday with a sense of pride.
In the 15 years he has served as director of homeless services, he has helped hundreds of people looking for food and shelter. Lewis resigned on Oct. 30.
“It’s been about the people I have been able to help,” Lewis said. “Many have touched me in a way that is hard to explain. We have a great need in this area, but right now I am ready to move on, meet new challenges in life.”
Meeting the needs of the many people seeking help from FACC this year has been a challenge, he said. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he has seen many hurting in ways he hasn’t encountered before.
“Social services is what is in my heart,” he said. “It’s time to broaden elsewhere.”
Lewis said he is grateful to the many area churches that help make a difference for a homeless shelter and food pantry.
“I am most proud when I get to see homeless people become self-sufficient, many who have to overcome addiction at the same time,” Lewis said. “Our volunteers have been incredible, but I will say this past year has been met with challenges that have been hard for me to accept.”
FACC has operated without an executive director since Dean Wright resigned in February. Lewis said the transition has been hard, especially without someone submitting grant applications.
“FACC operates on donations from the community, churches and grant money, so the budget has been tight,” Lewis said. “If we hadn’t been hit so hard locally with COVID in March, things would be better, but FACC is strong because of its people, the ones who donate their time. And without the volunteers running the pantry, it just would not get done.”
Lewis said he wants the best for the agency. He hopes to see a restructuring with a new executive director, who can begin to write the much-needed grants that keep the doors open.
“The grants pay for the salaries, pay the bills, and help us do what we can to provide the assistance to those who walk through our doors every day,” he said.
The homeless shelter has enough beds for 20 men and women. It opened in October, and currently has four residents.
Laurel Rudolph, who is on the FACC board, said a new executive director will be named in the next two weeks.
Rudolph acknowledges the loss of grant money hurt this year. She issued a statement from the board that says, “FACC is ready to meet the challenges of our programming missions which are, primarily, the Food Pantry and Homeless Shelter. We continue to be blessed by the community’s support through donations and financial support.
“Maintaining adequate funding, however, will always be a challenge. Due to the loss of some significant grants, the inconsistency of grants from year-to-year, and the decline in church financial support it will continue to be a challenge to fully meet all our budgetary needs without new and consistent sources of income.”
The statement went on to say that “FACC continues to need your prayers for financial stability, a way to get all our Social Service Agencies to work more collaboratively, and to reinvigorate our volunteer base. What we can’t cover with volunteers we must pay for, which puts a strain on our budget.”
Rudolph praised the work that Lewis has done for the agency.
“Scott has given Freeport Area Church Cooperative over 15 years of committed Christ-centered service and has positively influenced countless individuals in a very positive way,” she said. “His passion, heart and patience for serving this clientele is inspirational.
“We’d especially like to thank Scott for his work as interim director these last few months. He has kept our mission to show God’s love through providing food and shelter to those most in need, and to lead people to a higher quality of life consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Lewis said he is grateful to the board and the community for allowing him to help the less fortunate. He wishes the new executive director well, and said, “I am proud to have been part of FACC. FACC is strong. I am excited about my new opportunities. I tell the local churches that FACC depends on them to remain the strength to help others.”
Jane Lethlean; firstname.lastname@example.org; @DOGWMN2