PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) — A group of volunteers gathered at the InterChange Group Warehouse in Portsmouth to help refugees in Iraq.
As part of HOPE Charitable Services, volunteers organized and packed $200,000 worth of building supplies and clothes to ship to refugees who have lost everything.
“A container arrives and it’s coming with love and with hope and all of a sudden, you realize that you're not forgotten,” said HOPE’s founding director Bishop Frank Allen. “That you’re not the forgotten people of the east. You are important.”
Volunteer Joan Cartledge said it’s imperative to help those ravaged by conflict.
“The people who have lost their homes and lost their livelihood need a lot of support,” said Cartledge.
The volunteers include men from HOPE’s Workforce Development Program and teenagers from HOPE’s Summer Leadership Camp. The summer leadership program keeps otherwise vulnerable kids off the streets and directs their extra time towards volunteering efforts.
14-year-old Travon Williams said he’s been with the program since Kindergarten.
“From where I live, I would definitely be in the streets right now, or dead,” said Williams. “We're helping kids stay out of the streets because I'm pretty sure if this program wasn't happening, they would be sitting at home doing nothing or being in the streets up to no good, in trouble and stuff.”
Allen said HOPE Charitable Services has been around for 25 years and the group has shipped supplies for 20 years. Thursday’s shipment marks the fifth container sent to Iraq.