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Help for North Suffolk families

Published 12:38am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Suffolk is a big city with a diverse population experiencing a variety of needs across its more than 400 square miles of land area. So it stands to reason that there are people all over the city who are in need of a little help, whether or not they live near the downtown area where many of those services are found.

A Portsmouth-based ministry helps fill the gap for some people in the North Suffolk area. Oasis Social Ministry, which is located in downtown Portsmouth, serves residents of Portsmouth and the Churchland and Western Branch areas, which include portions of Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Suffolk.

The organization’s food ministry is well known in the area for providing meals at its facility for the homeless, and last year it provided meals to 62 families in North Suffolk. Another food program the group administers is delivering groceries to senior citizens.

Groceries are currently delivered to 76 homebound seniors every month — including in North Suffolk — and there are about 21 additional seniors on a waiting list to join, according to Burgess Hodges, Oasis’ resource and development manager. A recent donation from the Food Lion Charitable Foundation allowed the ministry to add five new clients to the program, and the plan is to add five more soon.

Oasis helps needy individuals and families in various other ways, such as by extending the food pantry to the families of terminally ill children served by Edmarc Hospice, as well as operating a thrift store and various programs like distributing books to children and providing health screenings.

There are some great services available to needy people in the downtown area — the Salvation Army and the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk both provide a lot of help to people who need it, for example. It’s good to know that folks who need that kind of help in the northern end of the city have similar options available through the Oasis Social Ministry.

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