New facility offers one-stop shopping for Raleigh's most-underserved residents

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Saturday, August 20, 2022
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Raleigh pastor opens new facility that offers one-stop shopping for Raleigh's most-underserved residents

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's brand new buzz in south Raleigh over the sprawling new facility that Pastor Chris Jones hopes will bring new blessings to the nearby Raleigh families who need it most.

"Gas prices are going up. Transportation costs are going up. Housing is going up. And so, we want to help fill those gaps, so people are able to survive in our city," Jones said.

Just one week ago, Jones and his team opened the 11,000 square foot building inside what was an empty warehouse on the 2600 block of South Saunders Street. It's one-stop shopping for Raleigh's most-marginalized people.

The facility has weights and workout equipment provided free of charge for anyone who might find a gym membership out of reach. There is also, The Galley, a discount grocery store in an area that can be a food desert for people with low incomes. They have also added 'Treasures,' a women's clothing boutique with racks of new and gently used clothing at deep discounts.

Towards the back of the building, Pamela Parker and volunteers as old as 80 were busy packing bags of free fresh groceries for homes that need them.

"It's very important to me that no one goes hungry in this area. And this is just one of the small things I can do," Parker said.

The center says it feeds 3,000 wake county families a month.

"So many times, we don't get opportunities to have that upward mobility," Ship Outreach Executive Director Wanda Thomas said. "So, to be filling the gaps and give people a way to have a hand up to me is very important."

ABC11 last visited Pastor Jones' mission in 2019 when he was running the operation closer to Ship of Zion Church in southeast Raleigh out of several different buildings up and down Bragg Street. Now, it's all under one roof.

"I think this is a lot better because a lot of people knew about what we were doing, but we were down in a neighborhood, and we targeted that neighborhood. Now, we can go for a bigger target," Jones said.

With future plans for a community kitchen and on-site workforce training in the works, it's not just the target getting bigger -- the mission is too.