RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– A Richmond family was forced from their home in order to escape a dangerous situation. Thanks to a nonprofit and a team of local churches they were able to return to a place of safety.

For Richmond is a nonprofit organization with the sole purpose of organizing churches across the city to come together for a greater cause. A few weeks before Christmas, they received a call from Richmond Public Schools (RPS) saying a family had escaped a domestic violence situation and had left their home with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. The family even had to sleep outside in the cold.

According to the organization, RPS was calling shelters all over the area but there was no space.

“We know from our work with the Department of Social Services — when a family becomes homeless, it can set off a domino effect that is terrible,” said Anna Shenk, the Co-director of For Richmond.

Shenk says For Richmond was launched four years ago and the organization connects and equips Christian leaders with various churches to meet the needs of people in the community.

They partner with RPS, the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Immigration non-profits. Churches involved meet monthly with Richmond Public Schools.

This domestic violence incident is just one of many that Richmond churches have been responding to for decades.

“We want families to be at home, so we want their kids to be able to go to school and feel safe. When we have an opportunity to respond as the church collectively, that’s a wonderful thing,” Shenk said. “Within hours, this family was set up for success so that the mom could go and find employment and the kids could go to school and not worry about having a roof over their head.”

Several churches stepped up like Second Baptist Church of Richmond in Henrico’s West End. Katie Vance is a Minister on staff and communicates between DSS and the churches involved. Vance was at her church when she got the call from Shenk.

“It really just took a few nights in a hotel and a little bit of rent money to completely change the trajectory of a family’s life,” Vance said.

Churches and volunteers provided temporary housing and a financial cushion.

Shenk said one church covered the hotel cost for a week, while RPS looked for housing. Four other churches helped out and bought mattresses for the family’s new place and helped deliver them. Another church helped with the kitchen and helped buy bathroom supplies.

Vance said members of her church even set up a Christmas for them, buying them a tree and holiday decorations.

“We had a whole neighborhood here in the West End that had wanted to get the mom a gift card so that she could get things that she needed. We had just a table full of gifts, people that brought in wrapping paper, people that brought in the gifts and we were able to get a Christmas tree and lights and ornaments,” Vance said. “It turned into getting to be Santa for a little while.”

8News has learned the mother has a new job and her children are now safe in school.