"Restoring Community and Changing Lives"


In the past 31 years, my wife and I have seen this community transform from one of the most destitute crime infested areas of Norfolk, VA. When the Storehouse was established its first mission was to feed and clothe the needy population. Through many community wide outreaches and much prayer,  we have seen lives changed for generations to come. The Storehouse has become the largest benevolence outreach in this section of Norfolk.

We have helped thousands of families and individuals, and have been recognized for our efforts by the businesses, police, politicians and civic leaders. We quickly became the Resource Center of Ocean View and we are proud and honored to serve in this way.

My wife and I were asked to do a video interview that was shared online. In the video we chronicled the stories of; outreaches, needy people, homelessness, community partnerships, disaster relief and so forth, throughout the years.

After the interview, here was the response we received:

“I appreciate you taking the time to do the interview and allowing me to borrow the tapes of events you’ve hosted.”

“The final DVD turned out great, it opened  my eyes and I’m sure others to what you and your organization are doing for others. What a blessing!”

“Thank you for sharing your story. Keep doing what you’re doing!”

In 2013, we hosted “Compassion 2013”

This event followed a devastating Tropical Storm that hit the Tidewater area.

We partnered with CBN, Operation Blessing, Bon Secours Hospital and tons of volunteers.

More than 700 people received groceries and had the opportunity for free health screenings as well. This represented close to 250 families! Over 10,000 pounds of food were donated by Operation Blessing International!

This was one the biggest events ever in the Ocean View Area.

Rodney & Aretha Hammonds Sr.

Directors – The Storehouse Ministry

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East Ocean View is a Food Desert

Def: Food Desert – an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.

“many poor people live in food deserts—where they have plenty of food but none of it healthy”

Food deserts are defined  as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

This has become a big problem because while food deserts are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic. The food desert problem has in fact become such an issue that the USDA has outlined a map of our nation’s food deserts, which I saw on Mother Nature Network.

Local health experts are concerned about the prevalence of food deserts because calorie-dense, convenience store food often is the alternative to the fresh selection found at most supermarkets. Eating healthy fights obesity and reduces risks of chronic diseases that affect community health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Portsmouth carries the region’s highest rate of obesity at 39.2 percent. Norfolk is second at 33 percent.

Amy Paulson, a community health advocate and instructor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, said the problems are not exclusive to low-income communities.

“It’s more pronounced because of the access issues, but many of our families don’t eat real food,” she said about processed and fast foods.

Paulson said families need more education on eating healthy. She said city and community leaders must work harder to provide greater access to healthy alternatives by improving mass transit options and community walkability.

*The Storehouse has partnered with Bon Secours Hospital’s Healthy Communities to established an “exciting” program that has been effective in address this community crisis. We have incorporate for the past 5 years, a class entitled “Passport To Health”. Some of the features of the program include: 

  1. Pre- & Post-Screenings.
  2. Bon Secours In-Motion personal training sessions at the Rec Center.
  3. Cooking & Education Classes from the Bon Secours “Let’s Get Real” program featuring chefs from the Culinary Institute.
  1. CSA Bags (Certified Sustainable Agriculture) from Five Points Market that will run for 12 weeks per season.  The produce will be delivered to the Storehouse Headquarters in EOV. Chosen families will receive specialized “Farm to Table” CSA bags free of charge.
  2. Special garden market days at the community garden based on seasonal produce.
  3. Fitness Events, Activities for the kids, and Fresh local produce for the community that will be brought in from Five Points Market. 
  4. Rewards for reaching goals throughout the program for the families attending.
  5. As many as 50 families have attended the classes through the years, resulting in positive weight loss, lowing blood pressure and all around healthy lifestyles!
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A Giver’s Legacy

A Giver’s Legacy

Growing up I always found it odd that my mother would go over and beyond to help anyone in need. Being a single mom of five children never stopped her. Even when our own cupboards were bare, she would somehow find a way to give. Years later, I am proud that she not only continues to hold on to this characteristic, but she passed her giver’s heart on to me. Today, I understand the innate responsibility to help those in need. Because of her, this is who I have become.


Willingness to give, in my opinion, has always been something that defines who you really are. I believe the best people are not those who have the most, but those who have the least and are willing to give it all. We are called to be helpers. Who am I to tell God—Who gave it all—that I can’t give to the poor? This sentiment that started when I was younger has only grown in my adult years.


Most of this growth started from the moment that I found out I would have a child. Things I had never thought about before became my primary motivation—How do I want to be seen? How do I want to be remembered? Who do I want my son to know me as? I never thought about leaving a legacy until I had Junior. I also began to think about when I am no longer here to guide my son. Above all, I want Junior to know that his mother was a giver. I want him to know that she invested her time, energy, and resources into helping those around her. I want him to know that she believed that God not only called her to be a helper, but that is what He wants from all of His children. When he is an adult, I want him to try his hardest to remember a time when his mom had something to give and said no…and I want him to draw a blank. Above all things, this is my biggest goal in life. This is the legacy I want to leave.

Lakeisha Smith is an aspiring elementary school teacher living in Virginia Beach, VA. She is the happily married wife of Josh Smith, Sr.



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Thank You Compassion 2013 Volunteers

Thank You Compassion 2013 Volunteers


Dear Compassion 2013 Partners and Volunteers,

Thank you again for the awesome job you did at Compassion 2013! We are still celebrating the victory, as wonderful testimonies keep coming to us. We would love to hear how you were blessed before, during, or after your Storehouse experience and Compassion 2013.

Please contact us with your story!


Thanks to you!

More than 700 people received groceries and had the opportunity for health screenings. This represents close to 250 families!  There were at least 61 decisions for Christ, with many others making re-commitments to the Lord and receiving prayer for their personal lives.

Check out pictures from the day on Facebook @ StorehouseUSA


So, what’s next?

Saturday, June 1 is Compassion 2013 Follow-Up Day!

We are meeting at 9am at New Life Christian Center (main sanctuary) to visit the families we met during Compassion 2013! This is going to be FUN!


Our Goal: Follow up with each family and let them know they are not forgotten, but still loved. Please wear your Compassion 2013 T-Shirt as we continue to minister the love of God and His blessing. You will receive some training and be teamed up with others so you will be fully equipped!


Looking Ahead

Saturday, June 29 – Storehouse Yard Sale

More details coming soon.

All proceeds will go to the Storehouse Back to School Outreach in August when we will give school supplies and clothes to needy families with children preparing for the coming school year.


Thank you again for your time and dedication!

The Storehouse Team



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Compassion 2013: Satisfying the Hungry

Compassion 2013: Satisfying the Hungry

Compassion 2013 Logo_Blue-Red2


Thank you to all of our volunteers! We can’t wait to see you again!



We have a LOT of registration forms and info to process. If you can help in the office May 22-24, you are welcome anytime between 11AM-1PM…filing, sorting, data entry and making phone calls, etc…please call Maureen @ 757-227-9624


Compassion 2013: Follow-up Day

More opportunities to love our neighbors! We want to follow up with every family who attended the event, ask them how the Storehouse can better serve them in the coming year and, of course, offer some encouragement along the way…
When: Saturday, June 1st
Meet up in the New Life Christian Center Prayer Bldg. (white building behind the NLCC sanctuary) 3921 Pleasant Ave., Norfolk, VA
Time: 9:00AM-noon, training and survey forms provided, wear your walking shoes!

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Disaster Relief

Disaster Relief



East Ocean View is one of the lowest lying areas in the City of Norfolk. Throughout 27 years of ministry we have witnessed the flooding caused by many hurricanes and nor’easters. Devastation is often widespread with many families losing homes and automobiles. In some areas flood waters routinely reach 4 feet.


When natural disasters and severe flooding strike, the Storehouse transforms into a relief center to meet the immediate needs of our neighbors. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we distributed inflatable beds, sheets, blankets, household supplies, and emergency food baskets to sustain families for several days.




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Rodney Shares His Journey

Rodney Shares His Journey

My first inspiration came from my mother, a nurse, who had an innate compassion for those who were down and out and hurting. I grew up in a low income section of South Norfolk, where many working families had to go without basic necessities. I was blessed with a strong single-parent family. Yes, we had our struggles, but I had friends who had it much worse.

One summer, I got a job working as an assistant with a medical doctor who traveled around to poor neighborhoods, performing free health physicals for kids. I really enjoyed working with him, I saw the compassion he had for the hundreds of children who showed up at the recreation centers. Personally, I got a kick out of helping other kids my age and developed a strong desire to help others whose lives were like mine.

In my first year attending college, I began to have special encounters with people who were in need, even though I didn’t know what I could do to help them. Many mornings as I waited for the bus, I noticed homeless people either sitting on the benches or walking around aimlessly. One day, an older gentleman came and sat beside me. To my surprise, he started telling me his story, his life story, from riches to rags. I sat there wondering, “Why is he telling all this to me?” This encounter, was just the first of many. People started approaching me regularly always with a story to tell. After a while, I started to realize these encounters weren’t “weird” at all, this was God. I realized that He was sending people my way for me to care about their stories and their needs.

Years later, fresh out of college and newly married, my wife and I were looking for a new home in a new area. Ocean View came to mind because we wanted to live by the beach. We drove around the beach, not knowing at that time this area was infamously called “the armpit of Norfolk.” We didn’t know of the problems here with drugs, gangs, alcohol, violence, and prostitution. As we drove along the strip, we fell upon a little storefront church. We decided to go to a Sunday service, to try it out. On the first visit, the pastor said something from the pulpit that both shocked me and excited me. He said, “This week we are all going out to the streets to share the love of God with the people in the community.” Though I could tell that this statement horrified some of the church members, I was very interested. I said to my wife, “This church is radical, I want to go with them.” So we went out with the church to the streets to meet our neighbors one-on-one and show His love.

This year will mark 27 years that my family and I have been serving in this great Storehouse outreach. We have been blessed to give hugs to many, as well as, cry with many. We have seen untold numbers of lives transformed and changed, and individuals and families helped in times of desperate need.

In addition to serving as Storehouse Director, Pastor Rodney Hammonds is a loving husband, father of three, and East Ocean View resident for 27 years…
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