Martha "Mamaw" Earnhardt so admires the work of a Cabarrus County organization that assists homeless families that she urged her famous racing family to help the group however they could.
What Family Promise needed was a trailer for its homeless families to transport their belongings from one host church to the next.
The nonprofit organization consists of 14 area churches who take in homeless families a week at a time. Church members prepare hot meals for the families, and Family Promise helps them improve their work skills and find jobs.
"I think it's wonderful what they're doing for families who don't have homes and a place to sleep at night," Earnhardt told the Observer last week outside the JR Motorsports shop, which her grandson Dale Earnhardt Jr. and granddaughter Kelley Earnhardt own in Talbert Pointe Business Park.
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Martha Earnhardt was at the shop as JR Motorsports awarded a $5,000 check to Family Promise so the agency could purchase a new 7-by-14-foot trailer from Golden Gait Trailers of Concord, which deeply discounted the price.
Martha Earnhardt learned of the need from close friend Roberta Patterson, a member of the Family Promise board of trustees.
The two met in 1952, when Patterson's husband, Elwood, helped crew Ralph Earnhardt's No. 8 car at Hickory Motor Speedway. Martha was married to Ralph Earnhardt, father of the late Dale Earnhardt.
"This fits perfectly with our mission to help underprivileged families, and it's only the start," Kelley Earnhardt said, pledging to raise even more awareness of Family Promise's impact.
Since its founding in April 2009, Family Promise of Cabarrus County has helped 15 homeless families, including 27 children, find permanent homes.