According to the United States Census Bureau, nearly 10 million single mother-lead families exist in the US. “Single moms are one of the fastest growing segments of population in the region of Danville, Va.,” explains Brenda Kilgore, Piney Forest church’s single moms ministry coordinator. After studying local demographics and discussing ways to improve service to the community, the congregation felt called to minister to this group.
Kilgore, a former single mother of 15 years, says there’s no question God led them to this ministry. “We discovered there was no organization catering to this demographic within 60 miles of Danville,” she explains. “Through statistical data, we learned two out of three single mothers don’t attend church. This means their children are more susceptible to poverty, abuse and jail time.
“We initially thought we would partner with the local social services office, but soon realized they didn’t have the time or personnel to even make referrals.” While at a Potomac pastor’s meeting, Luis Beltre, the church’s pastor, had heard of The Life of a Single Mom, an international group which provides support and solutions to single parent challenges and focuses on helping churches and community groups support single mothers in three main areas: parenting, finances and health.
The congregation purchased The Life of a Single Mom Start-Up Kit for under $300, which Kilgore says contains everything a group needs to start. Three months before their first scheduled meeting, members began distributing pamphlets to daycare centers, doctors’ and social services offices and restaurants. “The positive response from the community was overwhelming,” says Kilgore. “Local businesses gave us gift certificates as door prizes for our meetings. Restaurant owners offered to provide our meals and women in the community wanted to know how they could volunteer.”
A month before their first meeting, Kilgore says the congregation and the ministry team did the most important item on their start-up list—30 days of prayer. “This is crucial!” she says. “The church body, needs to be prepared to love and welcome single moms and their children into the congregation.”
Six moms and 11 children attended the first meeting, and after just four meetings, the group nearly doubled. Numbers continue to climb. The Danville Single Moms Group meets for an hour and a half, twice a month and each meeting includes a free dinner and childcare. Recently, the group hosted their first major event—a free carwash for attendees.
“It’s all about making moms feel loved, valued and appreciated,” comments Brenda. “We are making friends and helping them build a network of support. We don’t give advice, we listen. We don’t judge, we love. We laugh, cry, complain and rejoice. Our mission is not to fix moms; it’s to introduce them to the Fixer.”