RICHMOND, Va. -- The outreach organization Mission: From The Heart, a group born from a labor of love and stories covered at CBS 6 New, is looking to spread love throughout the greater Richmond area.
Behind the effort is a familiar face: CBS 6 News Reporter Shelby Brown. Known to most for her work on the station’s Problem Solvers team, Shelby has taken her passion for helping people on Problem Solvers to helping students going back to school.
Mission: From The Heart will focus on community service and outreach projects year round to benefit area homeless students as well as underserved and underprivileged students from low-income areas.
Saturday morning our cameras found Brown and a group of volunteers kicking off the organization’s first community service project.
“I’ve partnered with the owner of EnVogue Salons, Cantrece McAllister to collect much needed items for homeless students. From September 1st through the 30th we are collecting brand new items such as socks, bras, underwear, T-shirts, travel-size toiletries, duffel and overnight bags, shoes and hygiene products. They will be shared with K-12 students in the area” Brown said.
The newly-formed outreach foundation came to fruition after 17 years of covering stories in and around the metro Richmond area.
“Countless nights I have reflected on the plight of many underprivileged children whose stories of struggle, tragedy and extreme poverty always seem to leave a small dent in my heart. I end up with the same questions. How can I help? Could I make a difference? Aren’t I supposed to be a blessing to others, considering how blessed I am?” Brown explained.
Almost daily Brown says she is contacted by people in the community who are struggling to put food on their table, feed their kids, keep a roof over their heads, to simply survive from day to day. Through the years she has even found herself digging into her personal funds to help those in need.
“Through Mission: From The Heart I hope to step in and be a light for those who may be going through a dark moment. It’s a total joy for me the days when I get to do a CBS 6 Gives and can help lighten the load for someone. I am inspired by that and by the opportunity to help others through our awesome Problem Solvers Brand. Mission: From The Heart is my way of taking it one step further. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve and I truly believe I can make a difference” Shelby added.
Researching the prevalence of homelessness among area students was a direct result of a story Shelby covered more than a year ago. She found out details behind a local school bus accident that happened while a driver was transporting a homeless student after school from one county to another to get to his shelter for the evening.
“I wanted to know how many other children were in this same situation. I was struck by statistics detailed in a study done by William and Mary’s Project Hope VA. It revealed that for the school year 2016-2017 there were nearly fourteen hundred homeless students in Richmond Public Schools, nearly one thousand homeless students in Henrico and a little more than 700 homeless in Chesterfield.
“We want the students to know that there is support for them out here in the community. That’s why we are hoping that other businesses will follow EnVogue Salons’ lead and accept our pass the collection bin challenge. Saturday morning we were happy that one such business agreed to do just that. Tahnesha Ervin who owns Top Notch Styles salon in Chesterfield says during the month of October she will continue the collection effort with Mission: From The Heart” Brown said.
From Sept. 1 - Sept. 30, folks can drop off donations at the following sites:
- The lobby of WTVR-CBS 6 studios at 3301 West Broad Street in Richmond
- EnVogue Hair Salon at 2745 Hungary Springs Road
- EnVogue Hair Salon at 2316 Hungary Road
Shelby says she is humbled by those who have contacted her to volunteer and to donate. She was pleasantly surprised Saturday while back to school shopping with her family when someone stopped her to make a clothing donation to Mission: From The Heart.
“I’m so thankful and this is just the beginning. I’m looking forward to partnering with local businesses, school districts, religious organizations and child advocates to make whatever difference I can. There’s much work to do,” Shelby said.
If you would like to volunteer with Mission: From The Heart, click here to email Shelby.