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Christian Help Center “Have a heart for the homeless” Local Food Distribution

The center is located at 2166 Sacramento St. in Vallejo. For information call 707-533-8192.

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Photo by Aaron Doucett 

A small bible study group in Vallejo in 1983 was witnessing the poverty and struggles within the community and how in need others were and decided to give back to the community and help shelter and feed homeless people. 

The group’s mission is to provide food, shelter and clothing to those who are in need of care, compassion, dignity and respect. The Christian Help Center (C.H.C) envisions a community where everyone has the needed resources, affordable housing and food they need. The center is located at 2166 Sacramento St. in Vallejo. For information call 707-533-8192.

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NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

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Marvin Norman, 55

Marvin Norman of Oakland and Antioch, California, died at the age of 55 after enduring a ferocious battle with COVID-19 for more than four months.

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Marvin Norman

Marvin Norman of Oakland and Antioch, California, died at the age of 55 after enduring a ferocious battle with COVID-19 for more than four months.

He transitioned on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Santa Clara, CA.  

Marvin Gay Norman was born on Jan.19, 1966, in Houma, Louisiana, the son of Dennis Norman Sr. and Cora Mae Prevost.  He was the youngest of eight children.  

After moving to California in 1991, he met and married Terri (Gray) on April 20, 1996. Married for more than 25 years, they built a loving family.  

In 2000, he was hired as a longshoreman, becoming a crane operator at the Port of Oakland.  Together with his ILWU 10 brothers and sisters, he worked on the docks, moving products through the Port terminals. 

Marvin Norman was a religious man.  Most important to him was having a family, being a husband and providing for his family. He enjoyed his life and those around him, always ready with a smile and southern hospitality.

He enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening, cooking and was an avid fan of all sports, especially football.  He was a dedicated fan of the New Orleans Saints and the Morehouse College football team. 

He would make a yearly trip to support his youngest son’s game.  When his children were younger, he would often cheer and coach from the sidelines at their soccer, football and basketball games. 

 Additionally, he was a great cook, pouring love and a smile into the meals he prepared.

His happiest moments were being able to spend time with his family and friends, which included his four dogs.  

He was preceded in death by his parents and the family members Darrell “Flick” Norman, Evette Norman and Angela Norman.

He is survived by his wife Terri Norman; daughter Marshante Roberts and three sons Marvin “Smurf” Jones, Joshua James Norman and Daniel Isiah Norman; seven grandchildren, ages, 13, 7, 6, 5 and 3; as well as siblings: Ralph Hayes, Inez Williams, Bettie Jean Norman, Carnell Norman, Connie Berry, Dennis Norman, Jr., Bernadette Norman, and Mary Butler; by his in-laws Sam Brownstone and Virginia Brownstone; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

 Condolences may be sent to 4735 Crestone Needle Way, Antioch, CA  94531.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Black History

After 9/11, Some Found Healing by Helping

“They’re all dead,” Erica Belfield screamed while watching the news from her living room the day after the tragedy.

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Merrill and Erica Belfield share in their volunteer work as Bible teachers from their home in the Bay Area. Two decades after the tragic events of 9/11, they find happiness in comforting others using the Bible's message of hope.

“They’re all dead,” Erica Belfield screamed while watching the news from her living room the day after the tragedy.
 
Just 24 hours earlier, practically in the Belfields’ backyard, the disaster at the World Trade Center happened.

At the time of 9/11, Merrill and Erica Belfield from the Bay Area were volunteers at the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn.

“I went to the window in our building where we had an unobstructed view of the towers,” Merrill said. “I not only saw the plane as it hit the second tower, but I vividly recall seeing people jump out of the tower in an attempt to save their lives. The events of 9/11 shifted the trajectory of our lives and it’s something we will never forget.”

In the days ahead, what helped the Belfields cope was maintaining their spiritual routine of daily Bible reading, prayer and helping others. “When you go through a tragedy, it brings you joy when you focus on others and not solely on yourself,” Erica said. “It was a blessing to comfort our neighbors in this way.”

Helping others has long been linked to better emotional well-being in psychology research. The book “The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others” describes “powerful” effects, even for helpers who have experienced trauma themselves.

Trauma was all too common among the many volunteers at Ground Zero. Roy Klingsporn, a Brooklynite who volunteered at Ground Zero nearly every day for two months, recalled on one occasion approaching a man who sat slouched in a golf cart near the site’s makeshift morgue.

“When I asked him how he was doing, he burst into tears,” said Klingsporn, now of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “He said, ‘I’m tired of picking up body parts.’”

Within days of the attacks, Jehovah’s Witnesses set up teams that spent hours each day in Lower Manhattan, Bibles in hand, consoling everyone from the families of victims to first responders battling physical and emotional exhaustion. It was a work that changed how the organization approaches disasters, with an organized comfort ministry now being an integral part of its response to natural disasters and even the pandemic.

Recalling the gut-wrenching days he spent as one of those volunteers near the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers still stirs deep feelings in Robert Hendriks.

“It was very emotional and extremely difficult for me, but the faces of those I passed on the street said it all,” said Hendriks, now U.S. spokesman for the Witnesses. “They needed comfort, and the best thing I could give them was a hug and a Scripture.”

For Brown “Butch” Payne, the events of September 11, 2001, tore open old wounds, bringing back vivid wartime memories the Vietnam veteran had tried to forget.

From his East Village apartment, Payne recalled the crowds of frantic people streaming north from Lower Manhattan. “That sight stirred up a lot of emotions in me,” he said. “It shook me to the core.”

Payne found relief in rendering aid the best way he knew how. “Sharing the Bible’s message of hope softened the blow for me,” he said.

Offering a shoulder to cry on brought Klingsporn comfort too. “It was satisfying to be of help to my community,” he said.

Two decades later, the Belfields are still battling the mental toll that 9/11 took on them. “Whenever Merrill hears a plane in the sky, he looks up, not knowing if another attack will happen,” Erica said.
 
“But what helped us back then is the same thing that helps us today — focusing on others. Because of the pandemic, we’ve been able to write comforting letters to those who’ve lost loved ones. Many of the feelings we felt back then are the same ones people are struggling with today.”

Payne feels the same. In 2016, after 50 years of marriage, he lost his beloved wife to cancer. On days when his grief feels overwhelming, Payne writes heartfelt letters that lift his neighbors’ spirits — and his own. He shares Scriptures and resources that have helped him, like articles on coping with trauma and loss on jw.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Encouraging others to look to the future helps me to do the same,” he said.

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