The mission of the PCC began in 1967 as a response to the 1950’s economic upheaval in Southeast Roanoke caused by the abrupt closing of the American Viscose plant and the building of the last steam engine at the Norfolk and Western Railway East End Shops. Today, PCC is still responding to the needs of our neighborhood and the response is guided by people with a common passion to help others in need, providing hope for a brighter future.
Brenda Wass, our Director of Emergency Services, is the heart and soul of this program. She has worked at the PCC for over forty-seven years. Having grown up in Southeast, she knows the community, the families, and their daily struggles at surviving. You could say that Brenda is our secret weapon in fighting poverty by the sheer fact of her vast knowledge of the social service network along with connections she has made over her lifetime of living and working in Southeast.
When Brenda was in 8th grade, her Home Economics teacher was Betty Dixon. Little did Brenda suspect that years later, Betty would become a treasured volunteer at the PCC, sharing her passion for helping others. As a PCC volunteer, Betty brought her quick wit and laughter that resounded throughout the building. She also brought her Northminster Presbyterian Church team of friends to volunteer each Wednesday for years and years. During slow times at the PCC, Betty would bring craft projects. One such project, a large cross-stitched wall hanging of the Lord’s Prayer, was gifted to the PCC. Sadly, Betty passed away on April 8, 2019, but her memory remains with us along with the Lord’s Prayer which still hangs behind the front desk in the lobby.
Dale Poe, another former volunteer and also my father-in-law, passed away on August 6, 2019. Soon after retiring, Dale began helping in the food pantry preparing food orders and restocking the pantry shelves. He enjoyed sharing the PCC mission with Brenda and PCC caseworker Patsy Ashe who passed away in 2012. When he was no longer able to volunteer, Dale faithfully supported “Patsy’s Pantry” for many years.
The PCC mission continues to play out with an assorted cast but all offer compassion, generosity of spirit and resources, encouragement and guidance…and hope for a bright future for each PCC client, their families and the community. An open invitation is offered to anyone interested in joining the PCC team.
-Cheryl Poe, Director of Volunteer Services