Multiple organizations and volunteers come together for cleanup and outreach event in Rainelle

RAINELLE, WV (WOAY) – Rainelle residents have voiced their concerns over crime, homelessness, lack of police presence and finger pointing in council chambers. 

At last week’s council meeting, Jeffery Blackburn, a local peer recovery support specialist with Seneca Health,  heard the cries of the people and on Thursday, aimed to respond. 

After the meeting,  groups began reaching out to him about ways they could help, and so around 25 people from all over came together to clean up trash, properly dispose of syringes and attempt to connect with the people in need of help.  

“We are all human beings. We all deserve a chance,” Blackburn said. “I know the stealing and the things get tiresome but so many times I hear people talk about, ‘I knew this guy before and look where he’s at now,’ right? Because this isn’t who they are.” 

Representatives from organizations like OneVoice and Life Changers came from Beckley to help as they walked the streets and helped hand out meals hoping to get information out there about resources to help those with substance use disorder. 

Jessica Kincaid works for Life Changers Outreach and also celebrates two years of sobriety. She wanted to remind the public that anyone could end up in a similar situation.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, it can happen to you, you know. We just need to reach out to these people and show them that we love them and care about them,” Kincaid said. 

At the end of the day, they picked up 10 bags of trash, 3 syringes and a cap.

Blackburn hopes this proves what can happen if the community works together.

“If you want to fix a problem, we’ve got to hit the ground running and that’s what I hope to inspire is change is possible through a little bit of hard work,” Blackburn said. “I can’t change anything in the council until next July when we vote, but I can change what goes on today, now, in the present.” 

God’s Way Home, Seneca Health Services and other community volunteers were all present.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.