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He started Hand Up to aid those suffering in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. -- While many people wear their emotions on their sleeve, Augusta Hite wears his mission statement on his wristband.

It reads: "I am second. I am second."

Hite said he believes in putting others first.

Hite is the founder of Hand Up, a Community Resource Center located in South Richmond.

"Here we take a holistic approach in providing services to the community in the city of Richmond," Hite said. "Our motto is 'Everyone is welcome. Come as you are.'"

Hite, who has worked in the human service industry for more than 25 years, launched Hand Up last fall. He hopes to battle hunger, homelessness, addiction, and unemployment.

"When they come to Hand Up we want them to feel a sense of healing and a sense of well-being," Hite said.

The four-pronged approach helps clients, like single-father Craig Butts, stay on his feet.

"In Richmond, I’ve never seen a pantry like this," Butts said. "There is so much that they do up here. So much. All a person has to do is come here."

Partnering with Feedmore and stores like Target and Food Lion, the non-profit opened its food pantry two days week.

About 200 clients arrive each week.

"We get tons of fresh food and fresh vegetables. Lettuce. Onions. Tomatoes. Pineapple. That is what people go for first," a volunteer named Kelsey said. "It gives them a sense of family. It gives them a sense of support."

Hand Up’s headquarters is mere feet from what Hite and others call Motel Mile on Midlothian Turnpike. Hite said the location benefits people who need help the most.

"That was strategically planned and a purpose to have a place and come as you are," Hite said.

Volunteers even go so far as to deliver life-saving nourishment to veterans in our area.

“I’ve gained so much for from Hand Up than I’ve given Hand Up," Hite said. "It's our responsibility to take care of our neighbor. It's our duty. It's our calling. If we do that we’ll be taken care of."

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.