Volunteers spend Thanksgiving working on VB shelter for domestic violence, human trafficking victims


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Instead of spending Thanksgiving around the dinner table with family and friends, volunteers used the day to give back to an organization that helps victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Last week, 10 On Your Side reported on the need for volunteers to remodel the Samaritan House’s donation center.

On Wednesday, volunteers kicked off the project to transform the center in time for the holidays.

“This is the busiest time of the year, when our neighbors want to give back and donate. They start purging and cleaning for everything coming in,” said Tracie Stern, who is leading the project. “The donations department is not able to take all that in.”

Stern is known as the “Curvy Flipper” and remodels spaces.

She says it feels great being able to give back on Thanksgiving.

“It’s serendipitous, I guess you could say, to be out here and give back in this manner to a great cause,” Stern said.

But Stern wasn’t alone.

Others volunteered their time, like Patti Howell, because she knows how exhausting it can be to renovate a location.

“It’s going to be a brand new look in here,” she said.

Howell owns Hickory Trading Company and the non-profit, the Hitching Post. She says many strangers helped her business remodel their current space. So this is a way of giving back.

“You just feel good when you’re giving back to the community. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This is a great mission,” she said.

Hickory Trading Company is providing coffee for all the volunteers throughout the course of the project. But they’re not the only ones who donated supplies.

Stern says many people donated cash to help buy items and snacks, as well as donating meals.

Lowes in Virginia Beach, Home Depot in Norfolk, and Floor & Decor donated supplies as well, Stern said. Students from Tidewater Tech also came out the volunteer.

She says its not too late to help out on their project. They’ll be out at the site for 24 hours a day until Monday at 5 p.m.

“If you wake up at 2 a.m. in the morning and can’t sleep, come down here and we’ll have something for you to do. We are so appreciative people want to come out. Don’t think you have nothing to contribute because we have a project for every single person,” she said.

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