Everyone's heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child."
But we believe "It takes a city to change a city."
The By Name Project started in 2016 when founder Jeff Wright felt moved by the Lord to begin a street ministry in Sumter, SC. The goal of the ministry was simple: find people whom others ignored and befriend them. If they looked hungry, offer them a meal. If they seemed lost or lonely, lend them an ear.
In the weeks that followed, Jeff found others who felt a similar call, and soon the project grew to four committed members and multiple volunteers. What started as random encounters, soon became regularly scheduled events where those called to serve would meet needy members of the community, get to know them by name, and provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support.
As relationships were built and the community responded to the outreach, the group applied for and gained status as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization called The By Name Project.
In time, more partners have come alongside donating meals, clothing, and even a mobile trailer for storing and transporting equipment and supplies to the bi-monthly park events.
Where We Are Today
After more than 5 years of service, The By Name Project continues to grow and go where the Lord directs. Here is how we are currently helping those in need in our community.
Bi-Monthly Park Event
Lunch in the Park
On the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, the group meets at 305 Dingle Street Park right behind the area where the Emergency Shelter on Oakland Ave used to stand. We start the event by sharing a meal with the community. During this time we get to know those we serve by name, talk with them about their lives, and share about ourselves. The atmosphere is casual, with the goal of offering friendship and support to those who are often overlooked or ignored.
After the meal and fellowship, we open our trailer to those in need. Community members can come and receive clothing, shoes, hygiene items, books and other things to support and enrich their lives.
Food for the Soul
Many who come to The By Name Project events are in need of more than just food or clothing. They seek friendship, understanding, or a shoulder to cry on. We aim to meet the community where they are and offer all the spiritual and emotional support we can.
Weekday Homeless Ministry
Several days during the week, committed members of The By Name Project visit the Dingle St. location, and other areas throughout the city, to distribute regularly donated food for the homeless who frequent there. This effort contributes to vision of consistancy, and really caring to know people. Over the years we've developed close ties with individuals we've encountered in Sumter and our volunteers are quickly recognized and welcomed.