Virginia man turns to community to help unsheltered: 'I'm not judgmental because I've been there'

William Ellis
Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-10 18:55:19-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- When William Ellis saw a need in the community that raised him, the Petersburg native connected with those around him with a mission to uplift.

"We just wanted to kind of be positive aspects, you know, something that people can look at as a bright point," said Ellis.

He said a group of them were motivated to start a nonprofit after volunteering at local church.

"It was a church on Washington Street and they was giving away food in the morning. And then we noticed people sleeping on the steps," Ellis said. "We decided to take turns as a group to go out there and give out food in the evening..."

William Ellis
William Ellis

That event turned into several and eventually led to the creation of the P.O.U.R nonprofit.

"We came up with provide offer up lift and rebuild," he said.

Giving away food, clothes, toiletries and lots of love, Ellis said his mom and her need to give back inspired him to do the same.

"I know she's my angel shining down on me now, because that's something that she wanted to do," he said. "So I used to tell her, 'You were you gonna give away everything.' So now I found myself."

Ellis said he knows how difficult it can be not having the basic necessities.

"I was homeless at one point in time and... my family went through some changes," Ellis said. "So that's another reason I'm not judgmental of anybody's situation, because I've been there."

Now in a position to give back, Carol Harris with the nonprofit says it’s something he and the entire team try to do as often as they can.

"He just had the passion and the willpower to do it. And when I see someone who put has that much fire behind them, it kind of ignited something in me," Harris said. "So he tries to do something every month, but of course, due to funding, we're not able to do it every month."

She said the organization is in need of donations.

"We provide clothing, we have care bags, so we are definitely in need of different types of travel toiletries, as well as monetary donations," she said.

With one of their biggest community events yet quickly approaching, Ellis said he hopes to provide and pour into as much of the community as they can.

"It's Feb. 18, from noon to 3:30 p.m. at Petersburg Public Library," he said. "I just continue to pray and to thank God... So whatever people are willing to donate, it helps."

The event on Saturday, Feb. 18 is at the Petersburg Public Library from noon to the three-thirty. Ellis said along with care bags there will be food hot off the grill and as much laughter and love as they can bring.

If you would like to donate, send a check or money order to P.O. Box 622 Peterdburg, VA 23803 or use Cashapp $POURINC

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