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Hometown Mentor: Husband and wife continue giving to those in need

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 6:11 AM EST
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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ) - As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on in our hometowns, a husband and wife duo is giving back to those in need.

Through good days and bad, Kelly and Joe Blankenship are there for their hometown. They operate City of Refuge in Pulaski, a non-profit that helps people of all ages. When the pandemic started, they had to shift how they operated. No longer could they meet with kids for after-school programs or go on trips. As the months went by, they turned their attention on meeting the ever-growing need for food by holding weekly drive-thru pickups.

“The poverty level in the town of Pulaski is at 25 percent or greater,” said Joe Blankenship. “So you’re looking at one out of every three or four kids that we run into that are living in poverty.”

With great need came great giving. Kelly said they have been able to expand their ministry to include things like their Look up Fashion Boutique and Mama Bear Closet. Both allow women and families in need to come shop for free in exchange for a few hours of volunteering with the organization to help others.

“We just felt like that’s what we were called to do and meant to do,” she said. “We have three children of our own and they had friends. It’s just one of those opportunities that we had to make a difference in our community and that is what we wanted to do.”

The Blankenships were nominated to be WDBJ7 Hometown Mentors. In that submission, the nominator said, “They go above and beyond to help our area’s youth with their homework and providing positive role models, and a safe place to go.”

WDBJ7 is proud to recognize the Blankenships for all their hard work.

If you know a teacher, coach or mentor making a difference in your hometown, let us know about it! Email Josh Birch at jbirch@wdbj7.com or submit your nomination on our homepage under the Hometown Mentor tab.

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