The HOPE Foundation Shelter (Hampton Roads)

Founded by Regina Darden, The Hope Foundation operates from the Lighthouse Community Church. It is the only summer shelter available to the homeless in Hampton Roads. Hope stands for “Helping Others Pursue Excellence”.

Since she started four years ago, she has had over 200 volunteers and partners join her. They help provide funds and resources to get people back on their feet.

Darden said, “In our shelter, we turn no one away- nobody. How do we know who God is? God is dressed in anything. So we don’t turn anybody away at our shelter. If they get to that door, they can come in.”

Volunteer Diane Surida-Middleton revealed that Darden “does take 70 percent of her paycheck as a longshoreman to make sure people are fed.”

“After we feed their body and get them to get comfortable and get that off their mind, then we feed their soul because you can’t tell anybody about Jesus if they’re hungry,” said Darden.

She gives her guests a card with her contact information in case of an emergency. There were times when people have died with no identification but emergency officials were able to contact Regina.

Willie Johnson said, “I was on the street myself and it was raining one night and a man said ‘You can’t stay under this bridge but there’s a place over there off of Virginia Beach Boulevard. Let’s go check it out… I came many a Monday, Wednesday or Friday night that the shelter was open during the summer and I came in crying and she said ‘Baby, just let it flow.’”

“God created it,” said Darden, “I said ‘OK, God, what is it you want me to do?’ and He said ‘I want you to start a shelter.’

Darden won WAVY’s 2020 “Remarkable Women Contest”. If you would like to volunteer with HOPE Foundation or need help from them visit their website here.