Shepherd's Way Relief Center is helping Richmond's homeless population

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- A service group in Richmond is stepping up making sure those facing homelessness and other challenges in life get a second chance.

8News Reporter Aaron Thomas spent some time with Shepherd's Way Relief Center.

He said the group's mission is simple: to provide relief from the afflictions of poverty in our community. The director views the organization as neighborhood community center, helping anyone in need to get back on their feet.

About once a week, Christina Hoffarth comes back to Shepherd's Way to volunteer. She's giving back to a place that helped her during hard times.

"I try to volunteer when I can," Hoffarth said. "I lost my apartment February first of this year."

Hoffarth was homeless for nearly four months. During that time, she said Shepherd's Way helped her in many ways.

"One of the ideas we had behind the creation of the center was not just a place to give people a meal, but a place where they can talk and we can talk to them and we can minister to them and counsel and have conversations," Pastor Sigmuend Collins said.

The center provides clothing, toiletries, a food pantry and even preparations for job interviews.

"It's not just homelessness, it's not just poverty, but often you have multiple issues that are happening at the same time," Collins said.

Collins said the center has expanded operations from one day to five days a week. Visitors say it's made a difference in their lives.

"Everything you need pretty much if you're struggling at that point in your life, you can come to this church, Pastor Collins, he's a blessed brother and he helps a lot of people out," Jason Strong, a resident said.

Another who has been helped by the organization is Hoffarth, who proudly lives on her own again.

"It's been a total game-changer," Hoffarth said.

Shepherd's Way Relief Center sees up to about 120 visitors a day. Pastor Collins said the organization is always looking for volunteers to help sponsor or serve a breakfast and provide items for the food pantry.

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