Published: Jan 05, 2011 4:49 AM EST
Updated: Jan 05, 2011 12:19 AM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The unemployed are desperately searching for help, and when they can't find it in the classifieds, some look to the church.

The longer a person is without job, the more frustrating it can become. And as Lee County's unemployment continues to hover around 13%, St. Hilary's  and St. Luke's Episcopal Churches in Fort Myers are offering a little spiritual support to help local people get through, and back to work.

For 15 years, Pat MaGee worked in the school system. Teaching is his passion. But after he was let go, he was lost.

"Self confidence is all-important, especially when you're out there pounding on doors and looking up and calling," MaGee said.

It's something that's easy to lose when job opportunities are scarce. Seeing that need, husband and wife Bob and Diane Millott, who are also deacons at St. Luke's and St. Hilary's Episcopal Churches, teamed up to form E-HUGS: "Episcopalians Helping the Unemployed Get Support."

"We've had hamburger flippers, we've had plumbers, nurses, we've had CPAs, we cover the whole board," Deacon Bob Millott said.
 
The support group is comprised of retired schoolteachers, business professionals, even an assistant priest who used to work in unemployment. Members get one-on-one help, from resume-writing to interviewing skills, and plenty of emotional and spiritual support.

"Every month, we send a prayer request list around and people can put their deepest concerns and that list is turned over to a lady that prays for these people every single day," Deacon Diane Millott said.

You don't have to be Episcopalian to join, just open-minded and ready to work.

"Several people in our groups have gone on and found work already," Deacon Bob Millott said.
    
With newfound confidence and determination, MaGee is sure he's soon to be a success story. "Good things have been happening," MaGee said. "I think the doors going to open soon. I really have high hopes."

The next series of meetings will be starting next Tuesday at 7 p-m at St. Hilary's at 5011 McGregor Blvd. The first session is called "Vision Casting"  which will help give direction in deciding what type of employment to pursue and how to go about it.

For more information, you can e-mail Deacon Bob at bach02@embarqmail.com, or Deacon Diane at deacondlm@yahoo.com.