Oasis Social Ministry assistance programs.

Oasis Social Ministry is focused on helping the disadvantaged and low income in the Portsmouth Virginia community. They work to prevent evictions and homelessness, try to ensure everyone has access to affordable food, and administer other services.

Many of the resources are available from their HUM Center, which is the main intake and information site. This is where clients can apply for everything ranging from emergency financial aid to food and short term loans. Much of what is available relies on money and donations raised from the community, so contribute to the Oasis programs if possible.

The staff and case managers at Oasis Social Ministry work to ensure there is a Portsmouth community where all residents have adequate access to enough affordable, nutritious food. The goal is to help feed people and their families. This will help address those decisions that people need to make on whether to pay for heat for their homes or food, or between paying the rent or mortgage or for their groceries.

The Ministry’s Food Pantry provides emergency supplies to individuals, children in the community and families in need. Each day they serve a number of local residents, and are even involved in delivering groceries or meals on a monthly basis to homebound seniors living on fixed incomes. Oasis is always in need of canned meats or tuna, breads, peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits, milk and cereal, so please contribute if you can.

Oasis Social Ministry is also a primary participant in a community service group that works to ensure that lunch or breakfast are served to those in need in downtown Portsmouth Virginia. As donations allow, the free meals are served year-round, including on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of the distribution points include Zion Baptist Church as well as another faith based group known as Third Baptist Church.

Holiday services are immense, and Oasis and its volunteers coordinate the delivery of holiday food baskets, which are largely sponsored by local individuals, businesses and civic groups. For Easter, there are baskets for children. During Thanksgiving, they distribute baskets containing the makings of a complete dinner and then there are free Christmas baskets include the ingredients for a meal, plus gifts for children.

Emergency aid is from the Oasis Ministry HUM Center. This is the main location that provides an array of services to assist those in the Portsmouth area who are homeless. Available services include some or all of the following.




  • The Bridge of Hope hot meal program, applications for SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, noon meals for the homeless.
  • Short term accommodations from the STAR Family Shelter. There are also haircuts, showers, and other support offered.
  • Medical assistance, in partnership with Halifax Medical Center. The program has a full-time RN on staff to provide referrals and medical services, there are vouchers for prescription medications, and other health care services. Mental health care is also an option in partnership with SMA.
  • Help in obtaining documents for immigrants and the homeless. This will be identification cards, birth certificates, license, and Social Security cards.
  • Other programs from the HUM center include free Internet access to be used for searching for available jobs, transportation to work or an interview, and even bus passes.

Dozens of churches and charities in Portsmouth operate the Homeless Prevention Program in partnership with Oasis Social Ministry. In order to help tenants or even homeowners remain in their homes or apartments, and avoid eviction and homelessness, the non-profit will make partial rental payments and even utility bill payments in the form of cash grants. There may also be referrals to other local social service agencies.

The Oasis Thrift Shop stocks new and gently used clothing for sale, and it is for anyone from the region. There are also household items, holiday toys, school supplies and more for sale at affordable prices. Additionally, the shop accepts referrals from other agencies to assist clients with obtaining clothing and other necessities.

Whether through partnership or direct support, the Oasis Social Ministry helps families facing poverty and the unemployed, among others. The address is 800 A Williamsburg Ave., Portsmouth, Virginia 23704. Call 757-397-6060.



By Jon McNamara

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