RICHMOND, Va. -- Sharon Arrington says she’s blessed to be able to sit out on her porch and enjoy the day because there was a time when she didn’t have a place to call her own.
She says she will never forget that feeling.
“Anxiety. Stress. Hopeless,” said Arrington.
Arrington says a local organization helped her when times were especially tough, losing three sisters in three years, including one who was murdered.
Atlantic Outreach Group (AOG) provided support and was there when she couldn't find housing.
“They encouraged me to stay strong, keep my head up... We’ll find something and they did,” said Arrington.
The local organization works every day to provide underserviced communities resources to services that can change their lives.
Executive Director Kheila Jones says AOG has served Richmond for ten years. It’s dear to her heart. Having grown up in a local public housing community, Jones knows the needs are great.
“Since 2009, we have provided more than 75,000 servings of food. We’ve assisted more than 8,000 individuals and families,” said Jones. “We work with agencies for employment. We have a bus pass program… We’ve given out more than 4,000 bus passes so people who have issues with transportation, or they need to get to a doctor’s appointment, can come in and get an all-day pass.
“We just recently helped a veteran who needed a place to stay for two weeks until his housing came through,” said Jones.
That was possible through their emergency housing fund. It’s a program that will benefit this weekend when jones, an avid painter, hosts a paint night fundraiser at Club 533. She will auction off some of her paintings to benefit housing fund.
Arrington will be in the crowd, this time as one of the many AOG volunteers who love to spend their time giving back.
“People helped me and so I want to help someone else. I love that,” she added.
The AOG offers a food pantry, and when they give temporary housing, each client gets a three-day supply of nonperishable goods. In addition, the group partners with local agencies to give mental health support.
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