Centers Care for the City: Oregon Hill Baptist Center
From the beginning, Richmond Baptists saw the need to care for the physically and spiritually destitute in the city. In 1914 Richmond Baptists opened a pioneer institution, the House of Happiness. It quickly became a lighthouse for the needy in Richmond. As population shifted and the needs of the people changed, it became clear that more centers were needed. The Cary Street Baptist Center opened in 1940 with a Vacation Bible School. In 1974 this center was moved to its present location inside Pine Street Baptist Church and the name was changed to the Oregon Hill Baptist Center.
Today, Oregon Hill offers counseling, small group Bible studies, family activities, and youth gatherings. As the community has changed over the years, many of the ministries of the Center have changed as well. Now Oregon Hill operates an emergency food pantry and provides some financial assistance for those living in the 23219 and 23220 zip codes. RRCB’s First Sunday Food Share collection helps supply the pantry.
One of the major areas of focus is their Homeless Ministry. Several unique opportunities have emerged in this ministry. The Center offers lockers for use of the homeless. This gives them a place to leave important papers, personal items, and some clothing. A mailing address is also provided for those with no other option. With the help of volunteers, the homeless are also provided a laundry drop off and pick up service once a week.
On Thursday mornings, a meal is provided for the homeless. There are approximately 80 homeless men and women who are served each week. The meal is prepared and served by local church groups. River Road regularly participates in this significant ministry — currently led by the WMU Connectors.
Jennifer Turner has been the director of Oregon Hill Center since 1996.
- Prayer. Pray for the staff and volunteers as they strive to share Christ’s love with their neighbors.
- Financial Support and Donations. The Center is always in need of supplies to run the various programs. While the Board of Missions budgets to assist the center, specific collections or donations arise during the year.
- Homeless Meal and/or Snack Bags. Assistance with providing, and/or serving a morning meal to the area homeless. Help pack snack bags to go.
- Sponsorships. Sponsor a child or teen to go to camp or on a group outing with the Center.
Written by Bob Shoemake