Norfolk church brings care to the people who desperately need it during the pandemic


NORFOLK, Va. ( WAVY) — In zip code 23504, just outside downtown Norfolk, problems have piled on during the pandemic.

Dr. Keith Ivan Jones is the pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church near Brambleton and Park avenues, and he told 10 On Your Side people in need often show up at the church’s doors.

“Quite frequently, we have people who are dealing with drug issues and people who are homeless, people who are hungry, and people who are displaced. It happens quite often,” said Jones.

(WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

The church, steeped in history, is responding to a multitude of ills associated with the pandemic. In June, less than a block south of the church, a young man was shot and killed at a barbershop on Brambleton Avenue. In July on Madison Avenue, a few blocks north of the church, four children were shot, allegedly by a teenager, and in September, a man was fatally shot on Madison Avenue.

“The pandemic has really impacted everything else that has happened in this community. Crime is up, hunger, and the access to resources have been very difficult to find and very difficult to place,” said Jones.

Schwanda Corprew (Photo courtesy: Corprew family)

A few blocks away from the church, the region recorded its first juvenile COVID-19 fatality. On July 30, 17-year-old Schwanda Corprew, a student at Booker T. Washington High School, died in her home in nearby Tidewater Gardens, after a brief COVID-19 illness.

Jones called her death a very sad and very difficult case. Local pastors have gone door to door in nearby public housing and other communities to encourage the hesitant to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Just this past Saturday, we knocked on 200 doors in an area close to here and the number of people who are resistant to this vaccination is staggering,” said Jones.

Saturday morning, beginning at 9 a.m., the church will offer COVID-19 shots and boosters and screening for health problems such as high blood pressure, breast cancer, and retinal disorders that are often associated with high blood pressure.

“We are grateful for our strong community partnership with Shiloh Baptist Church,” said Dr. Parham Jaberi, acting health director for Norfolk and Portsmouth Health Departments. “Vaccination remains the best way to end this pandemic and testing is a crucial component to our mitigation strategy to help keep our communities safe.”

The vaccine clinic will offer the first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for anyone for anyone 12 and older. Anyone under the age of 18 will need to have a parent or guardian accompany them in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, the clinic will offer free COVID-19 PCR testing for anyone ages 3 and up. Similar to the vaccines, an adult is needed for minors looking to get the vaccine.

No appointments are necessary for either the vaccine or test.

Community Service Day, in its 10th year, is also taking on joblessness, hunger, and poverty. Free household items: from furniture to crockpots and fishing rods will be available. The church is also offering free clothing and car washes.

“So what the Community Service Day does for us is that it brings care to the people who need it most desperately,” said Jones.

For additional information, contact the church at 757-625-4367.

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