1/9/22 Second Sunday non-profit

NOTE: Each month CVUU chooses a local non-profit or ministry as the recipient of our Sunday collection to support those working to make our community a more just and equitable place for our fellow citizens. This month our CVUU Social Justice Committee has chosen two: St. Columba Ecumenical Ministries, Inc., and Judeo Christian Outreach Center (JCOC).

St. Columba Ecumenical Ministries

Since 1987, St. Columba Ecumenical Ministries, Inc. operates to minister to persons with economic, social, or spiritual needs. This is a direct, hands-on approach that recognizes the integrity of individuals where they are in life. An indirect ministry works with other churches and other organizations to establish activities that address people’s needs.

 The Day Center provides a safe shelter for the community we serve to take care of their most essential needs. Guests can get showers, sandwiches, coffee, and other snacks.

 Our food pantry provides households with enough food for up to three days.

 A 6-month transitional housing program for single, homeless, adult males and females provides clients with the opportunity to get back on their feet.

Vision, Prescription & Dental Programs are funded specifically for homeless individuals in Norfolk who are in need of emergency dental work (fillings and extractions) and eye exams and medications.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets are provided. At Christmas, clients participate in a gift program including donations from CVUU members.

St. Columba Ecumenical Ministries Client Story:

Robert worked hard his entire life. 

Together, he and his wife could support their two kids.  Then the pandemic hit.  The restaurant where he worked closed and he lost his job.  Robert and his wife spent their savings and were having trouble making ends meet. 

Right before Christmas, he made one of the hardest decisions of his life, he came to our Food Pantry to ask for help.  We were able to provide him with a Christmas food basket for his family and surprised him with gift cards to purchase other necessities and gifts for his kids. 

He thanked us repeatedly and tearfully said he would be able to provide his kids with Christmas because of St. Columba.

(Editor’s Note:  For many years, St. Columba has been the recipient of Christmas gifts or gift cards from the members of CVUU, organized by the work of the Social Justice Committee of CVUU.)

The Pandemic Has Changes Our Services in Norfolk

We’re fortunate that all of our programs have been able to remain open throughout the pandemic, with slight adjustments for safety, including social distancing and mask requirements. 

Our Day Center distributes bagged lunches and bottled water and our Clothing Closet distributes premade sets of clothing.  We no longer do client laundry in-house but provide Soaps and Suds laundromat gift cards and bus passes for clients to do their own laundry.

      Our Transitional Housing operates at reduced capacity to allow for isolation when someone tests positive for Covid.  We serve Food Pantry clients at our front door, removed residency restrictions, and reduced the documentation necessary to expedite interactions and increase social distancing. 

     Overall, we learned to be more flexible than ever and adapt so we could safely continue to serve those in need in our community.

Judeo Christian Outreach Center (JCOC)

For 35 years the Judeo Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) in Virginia Beach has served the homeless and/or those struggling with food insecurity with its mission of  “Help. Hope. Healing.”

JCOC believes that when a homeless individual receives permanent housing, the rest of their life will fall easier into place.

Faith-based groups prepare and serve a free, nutritious meal with bottled beverages daily. There is a food pantry and family food boxes are offered.

JCOC operates a 55-bed shelter for adults, maintains a transition program for homeless veterans, and offers day support for the long-time homeless. Anyone placed in permanent housing will receive two years of emotional and experiential support.

132 clients received case support services including 99 who moved into affordable housing during JCOC’s last 12-month Rapid Rehousing grant cycle. This program works with landlords to obtain reasonably priced housing.

Judeo Christian Outreach Center Client stories: