VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Attention all skilled laborers, the Samaritan House is in need of your services.
The organization is seeking volunteers to help renovate its donation center over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Besides providing job readiness training, consulting and emergency shelters, the Samaritan House donates items to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and homelessness through its center, which is in need of a fresh look.
“A more functional space, a move inviting space is really key,” said Kate Celius, the Samaritan House community engagement coordinator.
Celius says Hampton Roads is vulnerable to domestic violence and human trafficking, which they started helping victims of in 2016.
“It’s really prevalent. It’s a very transient community. You have a lot of people who are here on action. You have the military and we’re close to the I-95 corridor. So, when we started combating this issue in 2016, we actually thought we’d have only a handful of clients to help. It turns out we had many more. We’ve had over 100 since 2016,” she said.
The community has stepped up to help with the increased demand by dropping of more donations. That’s why the center needs to be re-done and where Tracie Stern steps in.
“It’s really outdated. It doesn’t really function. The demand is greater than the services, but they don’t have the space to accept all the help the community wants to give them,” Stern said.
Stern flips houses and is known as the “Curvy Flipper.” She says she approached the Samaritan House earlier this year about teaching clients about home renovation skills.
Many free home inspections and renovations later, Stern is leading the donation center project.
“The Samaritan House doesn’t just serve a couple of people. They serve your friends. They serve family. They serve other non-profits that have the same mission of helping survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. I like to call them the mother of non-profits that work in this field. It’s not just their clients they serve, but clients of other non-profits that work in this area. And because of everything they do, it really means a lot to the community to come out and show they’re appreciated and it brings more awareness,” she said.
But you don’t have to be a skilled laborer to help out, according to Stern. They’ll have other jobs you can assist with, such as painting, organizing clothes and putting them back on the shelves.
They’re in need of 100 volunteers over a course of five days. The project starts on November 27, the day before Thanksgiving.
“We know it’s the Thanksgiving holiday, but we know the community is looking for ways to give back and get involved. This would be a perfect opportunity,” she said.
If you can’t give back through time, you can through donations. The organization has the Paint 757 Purple to cover costs of the materials that have not been donated. Stern says if all costs are covered, there rest of the money will go toward the Samaritan House.
If you’d like to donate to the organization, Celius says this is a great time of the year to do so since 60% of their clients are children.
“That’s why this time of the year, getting involved, adopting families, buying gifts for the children is so important,” she said.