Event provides clothing, genuine warmth

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

A group of volunteers handed out coats, sweaters and other clothes as well as toiletries during “The Warm Up” event on Saturday.

The event happened at Ryan’s Steaks and Cakes on East Washington Street, where tables with the donations were set up for people to look through. Similar events happened simultaneously in Portsmouth, Norfolk and Hampton, said Derik Green.

Green is with The League of Extraordinary Men, a campus-based organization at Norfolk State University whose 75-plus members have been serving the community since 2012.

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Green is interning in the Suffolk area as he works on his Master of Social Work degree and decided to organize the Suffolk event in conjunction with the others.

“What better way to engage ourselves into the community than to give back?” said Green, 30.

The event turned out well, he said, with lots of people coming to get needed clothes. As Suffolk Christian Church was holding its coat giveaway at the same time, the volunteers sent plenty of people over there and vice versa. Others came from nearby outreach locations once they heard about it, and some had learned about it through social media, where Green promoted it for several weeks.

“It’s turned out really well,” Green said.

Tonya Batten, who owns Ryan’s Steaks and Cakes along with her brother, Ryan Byrd, said she was excited at the turnout.

“Ryan and I both want to help the community,” she said. “We want to keep people smiling. I’m so glad everyone came out to support it.”

Being a graduate of Norfolk State University herself, Batten said she’s proud of Green and the other volunteers.
“It made me really proud of him to want to do something to give back,” she said.