Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center receives recognition

Published 6:47 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

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A local ministry has been awarded for its efforts in making an impact in Suffolk.

Each year for National Philanthropy Day, the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognizes leaders in communities around the world that impact the quality of life, cultural vibrancy and fabric of the region. The Hampton Roads Chapter chose to recognize Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center.

Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center received the Outstanding Innovation in Fundraising Award for collaborating with other organizations to obtain necessary supplies during COVID-19 and provide care at distribution centers. They worked with groups including Suffolk Public Library System, Blakey Weaver Counseling Center and more to provide outreach to folks in need with a central location to sign up for health insurance, discover local resources and get mental health counseling. This grassroots networking created more than half a dozen feeding sites through a shared belief that it is better to give than receive.

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“It was an absolute honor to be nominated, let alone winning,” said Lorna Slaughter, co-founder of Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center. “When I looked into the Association of Fundraising Professionals and what they do, I was surprised and enthusiastic that this organization was really giving people acknowledgement for their work. We don’t do this for the recognition, but it’s nice to know that you’re seen. I am beyond grateful and humbled to know that someone sees us.”

Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center was started in 2002 by Ralph and Lorna Slaughter. The couple originally owned a deli on East Washington Street, where many locals asked if they had extra food. After hosting a Thanksgiving meal for anyone who needed it, they saw an ongoing need and determined to meet it. Today, the couple, with help from churches, businesses and individuals in the community, has continued to serve Suffolk through the pandemic by feeding those with food insecurity.

The center was nominated by Patrick Belcher, principal of PB&J marComm. Belcher has a passion for helping nonprofits fundraise and grow their impact. He hopes that this award will help raise awareness for Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center.

“They were the best kept secret in Suffolk before COVID-19,” said Belcher. “I’m sad I didn’t really know what they were about until now. They have a passion and really want to respond to a need.”

Belcher hopes that with this award, the Suffolk Christian Fellowship Center will be able to make more connections and be able to serve more in the community.