Local church, community collecting donations for Ocean View apartment fire victims

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Posted at 4:05 PM, Feb 24, 2021

NORFOLK, Va.— During the most difficult of times, the community is stepping up to help in any way they can.

Many thanks are being given and received at the church at the corner of a tragedy.

“Anytime there’s a disaster, everybody knows to come here,” said Lighthouse Community Church Norfolk Pastor Dr. Charlie Stover.

Under one roof at 9609 9th Bay St. are two parishes: Lighthouse Community Church and Christ Believers Fellowship Church— both serve their congregations and their community.

“Fire started; my pastor called me; I came out, they open the church doors,” said Rosa Williams with Christ Believers Fellowship Church.

In the Ocean View neighborhood, 30 people were displaced after a fire ripped through their building Monday.

“It’s just devastating, and the people come in there crying; they’ve lost everything they have. They have nowhere to live; they don’t know where the next step is,” explained Stover.

The next step for many was through the doors of the church building across the street.

“The community is showing so much support, so much love, and donations are just coming in, and we need all we can get,” said Williams.

Church members are collecting and organizing stacks of donation in their worship room. They say the most needed items are toiletries and children's clothing.

Wednesday, the church opened a bank account to collect monetary donations for the fire victims.

People can make a donation by going to any BB&T Bank branch and asking the money go into the "Lighthouse Community Church Norfolk Fire Victim Fund."

Pastor Stover says the church already has an account at the bank, so people need to specify that the money is for the Fire Victim Fund.

The church says all donations will go to those who’ve been impacted.

People like Anna Bradshaw are already getting some help to get back on their feet.

“It’s been a lot of support with the community, so I’m really thankful for that, especially with the church,” said Bradshaw. “They came by, they gave me a $50 gift card. That was very nice of them. They also offered, you know, other assistance as well.”

In the parking lot, Xavier Smith set up clothing donations from his non-profit called Giving Second Chances — something many are in desperate need of.

Whether it’s bags of food being brought in or checks being handed over, the strength of this community lies in its readiness to come together in the wake of tragedy.