Musicians hope to help keep doors of homeless men's shelter open

Musicians hope to help keep doors of homeless men's shelter open

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - In two weeks, the doors of The Olde Towne Civic Center in Petersburg will be open for a night of music for a fundraiser to save the Salvation Army Homeless Men's Shelter on Commerce Street.

The shelter has been open since 1997, but the Salvation Army says the costs are too high to exclusively run the shelter, so officials plan to close the doors on Dec. 31.

"We're worried about keeping power on for these people," said Todd Mobley.

Mobley is a blues musician from Chester, but considers Petersburg home because he frequently plays there as a part of the Triple B Blues Band with his childhood friend Scott Billings.

Their time in the entertainment district has allowed them to fall in love with Petersburg, but also shown them the harsh realities of poverty in the city.

"Money is the problem, and that's what we're trying to do, raise money," said Billings.

Billings says 100 percent of the proceeds from the concert will go to the shelter. This concert is just one of several benefits the band plays for throughout the year because outreach is a part of their nature.

"This is just another way we heard the call and everybody answered the bell," he explained.

They are hoping music will move people to give, with no definite fundraising goal. They hope people will be driven by compassion to keep the doors of the shelter open.

"A hot meal and a place to stay is worth everything and I think every body needs a hands up not a hand out," said Mobley.

Just a few feet away from the men's shelter is the Hope Center, which feeds hundreds of people in Petersburg. Executive Director Scott Fisher recognizes the need for places like the homeless men's shelter and is hopeful for the fundraising efforts.

"We have some cold winter months coming up and we need to keep people warm. We don't need them out in the streets freezing to death. It's tough enough already," said Fisher.

He says churches continue to answer the call as well, helping feed and clothe those in need. The Salvation Army says they have been meeting with local churches about how to move forward, even speaking with the city of Petersburg about options to continue to meet the needs of the community once the doors close.

Mobley, Billings and so many others hope it doesn't get to that point at all, holding on to hope, that people will open their hearts.

"Hopefully we'll buy another 30 days, maybe somebody can buy another 30 days, and next thing you know we're back in to the spring and things aren't quite as bad," said Billings.

The concert will be held from 5 p.m. until midnight Dec. 14 at the Olde Town Civic Center on River Street.

Tickets are $10 and you can either buy them at the door or in advance by calling 804-733-8344.

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