PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Patti Hall Johnson is trying to pick up the pieces after a break-in this weekend at her nonprofit, Shining Light Homes.
A heavy ornament outside her mid-town Portsmouth building was used to shatter a window where a thief or thieves made their way inside over the weekend.
“It was just devastating. It hurt my heart. Every room was messed with. Every bag of donations was opened and every closet had something removed from it,” said Hall Johnson.
These are the faces of people who benefited from the charity: single moms who get little or no support from fathers and family members.
The charity Hall Johnson founded in 2012 was ransacked room by room. Diapers, paper products cleaning supplies electronics, and computers used to train young mothers are all gone.
Desperately needed diapers — by the hundreds — were stolen.
Johnson knows what it means to need help.
“I was a single mother somewhere between 16 and 17 years old and I had to quit school and I had to start from the ground,” she said.
Again, she has to start from the ground, this time for her self-funded nonprofit organization.
“We can always use monetary donations, that always seems to be where we hurt the most, and we can definitely use donations for diapers,” she said.
Hall Johnson lamented, had the thief or thieves simply asked for help, she would have offered it. Now her sense of security is shattered.
“I don’t feel like it’s a good place for me anymore; I don’t know where I’m moving to; I will eventually need to do that,” said Hall Johnson.
Donations cannot be accepted by phone at this time; thieves also stole the charity’s telephone.