An urban beacon of hope in Portsmouth, now weathering its second pandemic, is in need of repair

PORTSMOUTH, Virginia (WAVY) – For decades, even during the coronavirus pandemic, Wesley Community Service Center Portsmouth has served as urban beacons of hope for some of the area’s neediest men, women and children.

But now the center needs help. New roofing is required for the collection of buildings with a total area of ​​25,000 square meters.

(Photo credit: Wesley Community Service Center)

The center was only closed for three weeks in the early stages of the pandemic, but quickly reopened to serve customers old and new. “When we came back, we came back with a force. We have received grants from Food Lion, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, United Way and so many churches and so many people just came to us with so much love, ”said Center Executive Director Renyatta Banks.

The center offers tutoring for distance learning. “You [students] can’t go to their teachers for additional help, ”said Banks.

There are coding camps for the youth and food and clothing for the needy.

Nobody in need is ever turned away; even those who are rejected by others. “So often, like on Father’s Day, do we say, ‘Are you going to hang out with your kids?’ [the response is] ‘My kids don’t want me in their house,’ so it’s so heartbreaking, ”said Banks.

But this urban beacon is in trouble. The 110 year old former church building survived the Spanish flu. Now it is weathering the coronavirus pandemic. Banks says the next major storm could wreak havoc. “We have a bell tower that is connected to our building. The bell tower – the entire ceiling – is actually gone due to water damage, ”said Banks.

When asked if the roof was in danger of collapsing, Banks replied, “It could be, yes, because it’s so bad in this part of the building.”

The center sponsors a Designer handbag raffle at the beginning of next month that could fetch up to $ 30,000. Banks says that’s only a fraction of the estimated $ 230,000 to install new roofs on multiple buildings.

The center also hosts a Drop By and See on April 28th from 9am to 3pm to discuss all the great things they are doing and to talk about the repairs needed.

(Photo credit: Wesley Community Service Center)

The center hopes to get a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to cover most of the cost of replacing the roofs.

To buy a ticket for the Virtual Designer Handbag raffle, go to this link.

To donate a new designer handbag for the promotion or donate clean, upscale clothing to the closet, call the Wesley Community Service Center at (757) 399-0541.

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