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Volunteers help for the kids

The clock is ticking down to the grand opening of the new ForKids location on West Constance Road in Suffolk, where staff with the local nonprofit will run its Suffolk and Western Tidewater services and where kids in the program will come for homework help and other services.

One of the region’s most well-known providers of shelter and services for families facing homelessness, ForKids has been in Suffolk for many years. But its older building, a former homeless shelter, is small, outdated and in an unsuitable location when factors such as safety and visibility of the organization are considered.

The organization got the opportunity to purchase the former Kelly’s Tavern on West Constance Road, a much more visible and well-traveled location, last year, and ForKids Chief Executive Officer Thaler McCormick took full advantage.

McCormick said at the time it was a conscious decision to stay in Suffolk and make a long-term investment in Western Tidewater. And even though it’s been more than a year since that purchase, the organization has been working full speed ahead to raise money and do the other things necessary to make the former restaurant into a regional services center of which Suffolk and ForKids can be proud.

We’re pleased this week to learn that volunteers young and old have been pitching in to get the building ready for use. About 10 volunteers were helping on a recent afternoon alone, carrying in books and organizing rooms. Some of them were high school students earning their required volunteer service hours; others were just helping out for the fun of it.

“We are fueled by volunteers,” Chief Development Officer Sharhonda Woods told a Suffolk News-Herald reporter this week. She said about 3,000 volunteers typically help ForKids out in a year.

The only things left to complete the new facility are furnishings, a playground and other finishing touches. The Mini Mojo thrift store is also partially stocked.

We’re thrilled to see so many volunteers welcoming ForKids to Suffolk, and we can’t wait to see what ForKids accomplishes.