Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, Virginia Beach
Alexander M. Sailon, MD, North Beach Plastic Surgery
To Dr. Alexander Sailon and his partners at North Beach Plastic Surgery, homelessness is a tragedy that could reasonably strike just about anyone.
Supporting the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) in Virginia Beach, then, is an easy choice for the practice. That includes serving as an event sponsor for the nonprofit’s Black & White Gala, a major annual fundraiser.
JCOC advocates for families, individuals and veterans who experience homelessness and hunger by helping with housing, shelter, food, education, employment and financial counseling – plus showers, laundry, mail delivery and other assistance as clients fight to get back on their feet.
“Their work is desperately needed,” says Dr. Sailon, a Board certified plastic surgeon. “Unfortunately, this is a time in our world when we are seeing worsening problems with housing insecurity, and that is heartbreaking.”
JCOC’s roots trace back to 1986 when multiple faith-based organizations in Virginia Beach joined forces to help feed the hungry living in the city. Volunteers initially served meals only on Saturdays, but that quickly grew to seven days a week based on heavy demand.
In 1990, JCOC combined private, state and local funds to purchase its own building on Virginia Beach Boulevard, where leaders added a dining hall. Today, the nonprofit serves more than 95,000 free meals a year to people in Virginia Beach and surrounding areas.
Community Dinners are held at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Each one averages 85 to 100 people, who gather not only for food but companionship.
Additionally, JCOC runs a food pantry and a Food Box Program that provides free groceries to people at risk of becoming homeless. “No one should ever have to choose between getting enough to eat or paying the rent or other necessary bills,” Dr. Sailon notes.
JCOC also operates both the Emergency Shelter and Day Support programs in the City of Virginia Beach’s Housing Resource Center (HRC) on Witchduck Road. More than 55 single adults experiencing homelessness sleep in the Emergency Shelter every night. Meanwhile, the HRC’s Day Support program allows men and women to shower, do laundry, receive mail and/or apply for housing or other assistance with guidance from a specialist.
Helping military veterans in crisis is another focus area for JCOC. Services include a transitional housing program for 16 homeless veterans, a permanent supportive housing program for eight clients with disabilities who experience chronic homelessness, and a Rapid Rehoming Program that works with local landlords to find safe and affordable housing while offering case management for up to two years.
JCOC relies on the financial generosity of donors and partners with more than 100 volunteer organizations, churches, synagogues, and civic groups, as well as thousands of individuals – making it a truly non-denominational effort to improve the Hampton Roads community.
“People deserve a second chance at having more normal, stable and happy lives,” Dr. Sailon says. “It’s good for society as a whole, too, because it benefits absolutely no one to have anyone living on the street.”
For more information on volunteering or to make a donation, visit jcoc.org or call (757) 491-2846.