Recently Man Up Tampa Bay co-sponsored an event with Eckerd Connects, the local agency contracted with the State of Florida to manage child welfare there. The event was a recruiting event specifically designed to target African Americans in South St Pete, an area with many historically black neighborhoods.
Over 70 folks attended the event, and Man Up and Go CEO Jeff Ford made a call to action for the men in the room, and especially the pastors, to join with Man Up in the fight for the fatherless. Ford was joined by the following dignitaries and leaders:
- Brian Bostick, area Eckerd Connects Executive Director
- Gershom Faulkner, Deputy Director & Military Liaison for the Office of Congressman Charlie Crist
- Wengay Newton, Florida US House of Representatives
- Wanda Jones, longtime child welfare advocate with Child Protective Investigations (CPI)
In Circuit 6 (Pinellas and Pasco Counties), roughly 41% of the children in foster care are African American, but of the foster parents licensed to receive those children, only about 10-12% are African American. Children removed are often taken not only out of their homes, but out of the school districts where any semblance of familiarity exists.
As the Church, we believe God has called us to care for the orphan in our midst (Psalm 68:5, James 1:27), irrespective of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation. Man Up wants to see men follow after Jesus, which means loving and care for the fatherless in our midst.
We’re praying many of the church leaders will respond in partnership with Man Up Tampa Bay to recruit more men in the fight for the fatherless.