RICHMOND, Va. — When the news cameras are on you can usually spot her problem-solving around the community. But did you know that CBS 6 reporter Shelby Brown also has another mission when the camera stops rolling? It’s called Mission From The Heart.
It’s a community organization that she started this fall to assist homeless and underprivileged students in our area.
Armed with a team of volunteers, Mission From The Heart is already hitting the ground running. With the assistance of local business owner Cantrece McAllister, Shelby began her group’s “Pass The Bin” challenge. McAllister’s two salons in the West End (EnVogue and EnVogue 2) hosted collection bins for a month and donated the items to Mission From The Heart.
From there, the organization challenged other businesses to host the bins and collect much-needed items.
Top Notch Styles Hair Salon in Chesterfield accepted the challenge for the month of October. Owner Tahnesha Ervin and her salon team continue to collect toiletries, brand new shoes, socks, undergarments, coats, and other warm items for the winter (hats, gloves, etc.). The goal, Shelby says is to keep businesses and organizations engaged and involved in the collection process. To that end, she hopes to get different businesses to commit each month to a collection drive on behalf of Mission From The Heart.
The items will be donated to the organization and Mission From The Heart volunteers will pick up, sort, pack and distribute the items to area teachers, principals or guidance counselors. The idea is that these educators are on the front lines and they know exactly which students need the help. Once the items are packed in care duffle bags, Mission From The Heart will deliver them to the schools to be discreetly donated to students.
The volunteers and generous donors are already making an impact in our community. The organization recently assisted a mother of four who had to flee her home due to a domestic violence situation. She relocated near our area and her children had to start school in a new school system with very little supplies. Mission From The Heart was contacted about the family experiencing homelessness and was able to supply clothing, shoes and even a bed for the woman and her four daughters. They are now living with relatives.
Mission From The Heart is also the focus of an upcoming Richmond Magazine article. Journalist Samantha Willis and Phographer Jay Paul spent time with Shelby this week at CBS 6 News. Paul also went behind the scenes with Shelby at her home along with some Mission From The Heart community volunteers. Look for the Sunday Story column on October 21st at richmondmagazine.com.
Shelby says she is extremely grateful for the community outpouring, especially the support of WTVR-CBS 6 management. “Station General Manager Stephen Hayes and News Director Sheryl Barnhouse have been on board since day one, encouraging me along the way. They even allowed Mission From The Heart to put a collection bin in the lobby of the CBS 6 News studios. It feels good to have their support and the support of co-workers who have reached out to help” Shelby said.
Even strangers continue to step up and help. Recently Shelby said she was approached in a store by a business owner who had just learned about Mission From The Heart. The owner of Tri-City Driving School in Colonial Heights is now on board as a Mission From The Heart collection site through the end of November.
If you are interested in volunteering you can contact Shelby at email@example.com or through her Mission From The Heart Facebook page. You can also visit the following donation sites to drop off new items that will be distributed to students in need. They are set up to receive toiletries, feminine hygiene items, new shoes, undergarments, clothing, coats, hats, gloves and pajamas for students K-12.
CBS 6 News (lobby)
3301 West Broad St. (Richmond)
Top Notch Styles Hair Salon
9550 Midlothian Turnpike Suite #113 (Chesterfield)
Tri-City Driving School
1910 Boulevard Suite B (Colonial Heights)