Religious organizations fight to stop violence, end hunger

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A new partnership in Newport News is all about stopping violence and ending hunger.

While the two groups practice different religions, leaders of both Original Brothas and Congregation Zion’s Sake say they’re excited about this new partnership.

For Rabbi Eric Carlson, it started with asking a question. From there, he saw a need.

“Nobody’s asking, ‘What’s the need?’ All we had to do was ask.”

He asked, and then delivered. On Wednesday afternoon, Congregation Zion’s Sake presented the Original Brothas with a new van. It’s something that Pastor Curtis Harris says it’s essential to their goals of stopping violence and ending hunger.

“It’s more than a blessing, it’s a miracle. We’ve been waiting a long time,” said Pastor Curtis Harris. “We’re going out there on the battlefield and we’re going to do what we are called to do and we are going to stop as much as we can.”

The van gives them the ability to transport people around the area and deliver more food to more people. But for about 10 years, Original Brothas has been focused on mentoring men between the ages of five and 26. So the van means much more than a new set of wheels.

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Pastor Harris said, “It makes me know without a shadow of a doubt that we are not by ourselves.”

“We understand oppression, hatred and racism and as we’ve come together, we’ve decided it’s time to stop talking,” said Rabbi Carlson. He also said that his community recognized the potential of the partnership and was happy to help raise the money for this van.

Rabbi Carlson said, “I believe true restoration and revival are going to come at the grassroots level of people who have a heart that want to see a change and can make a difference in our community.”

And for Pastor Harris, he says Zion’s Sake answered the call for help. He said, “Not only seeing us on WAVY 10, but just knowing the work that we do and just stepping out and just believing in us.”

The two groups are hosting a community meeting on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Congregation Zion’s Sake. They say they’ll be sharing their plans for ending violence and hunger at that meeting — and they hope the community will join them.