Goodman to share ‘Night of Hope’ for city

Published 8:55 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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New Mt. Joy Food For Living Ministry hosts a hope-filled night focused on social justice reform, honoring community leaders and demonstrating God’s work next month.

“A Night of Hope” is a faith-based event at 7 p.m. Friday May 5, at the church’s 307 County St. location. The event is free and open to the public with no registration.

Suffolk citizen and event host Justin Goodman serves as a mentor at John F. Kennedy Middle School as part of the Enlightened Minds Program nonprofit organization. Goodman also is the founder of Project 36 Inc., a re-entry program that aims to help provide citizens returning from prison with security and stability.

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Goodman said the night combines both of his passions — social justice and the demonstration of God’s power through “miracles, signs, and wonders.”

“It will be a night of honoring community leaders for their work towards ending mass incarceration. It will also be a night where I will be praying for anyone needing physical healing. I have been privileged to pray for many people and witness the power of Jesus [to] heal various kinds of sickness, ailments, and diseases,” said Goodman on what attendees can expect. “A Night of Hope will be an electrifying event that can’t be put into words. You just have to come and witness all that will take place!”

Community leaders to be honored include Ex-Felon Entrepreneurship Retail Museum founder Amar Skinner, the Rev. Sylvia Copeland of Oak Grove Baptist Church and Suffolk Chief of Police Al Chandler. 

Goodman said he wants them to know their work is not in vain. 

“I have watched their lives from afar and each of them inspires me to join the fight in creating a better community for us all,” he said. “Community service orentiend work is not easy. You rarely receive public honor and celebration, sometimes you are even ridiculed for the good work you’re doing. A Night of Hope aims to bring recognition, acknowledgement, and awareness to those in the trenches but will also be a rallying cry for others to join the fight in helping create a better community.”

The event includes presentation of a scholarship reward to a high school senior that has an incarcerated father as part of the Project 36 Inc. initiative. 

Goodman shared a bit on the inspiration behind the program.

“The name ‘Project 36’ is rooted in the Bible scripture Matthew 25:36: ‘I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick, and you looked after me, I was in prison, and you came to visit me,’” he explained. “I hope to be a resource to those in need of assistance as they re-enter society.”

Those attending also have the chance to give back during the event, Goodman said.

Goodman also explained there will be giving opportunities during the event for attendees who want to give back. Those interested in supporting the Project 36 can make donations at

Goodman said he hopes the event will let Suffolk citizens know Jesus is still alive and well.

“I want them to have a fresh perspective of Jesus. Jesus and his church, for a lot of  people, have unfortunately been misrepresented in our world today,” he explained. “Some people have had really bad experiences in their religious walk. I want the citizens to see Jesus as purely as possible. I want them to know that he is still madly in love with us, his creation. I want them to know that he is still working miracles — he is still transforming lives and he is still providing hope.” 

Goodman added he wants Suffolk residents to see that all hope is not lost toward creating a better community at the event.

“COVID-19, political divisions, and gun violence in our city makes it seem as if we are in a hopeless time and era. A Night of Hope is an event that aims to re-engage our hope and shift our perspective,” he said. “Lastly, I want the spiritual citizens of Suffolk to realize that Jesus is not only concerned about our spiritual development but he is commissioning us to transform the society we live in. It’s time that we do the work of the Lord concerning social change in the city of Suffolk and the nation of America.”