NEW ORLEANS - Facing loss and heartbreak within its community, one church is trying to make a difference in the wake of that deadly triple shooting in Gentilly. The New Hope Baptist Church is doing what it can for the family and also taking a stand, focusing on its goal of helping an impoverished community.
For years the church has been there to offer support and a chance. From serving food to the homeless, to substance abuse services to offering computer classes, the church is stepping in to make a difference.
"Instead of constantly concentrating on the problem I think it's time to put forth an effort to make a solution,” Reverend Jamaal Weathersby, the church pastor said.
In a city often filled with violence, The church is focused on shining a positive light.
"If you can give people an opportunity, you'll see that they'll walk through those open doors,” Rev. Weathersby said.
Somedays though, that light is much harder to see. This week, the church is grieving the loss of Monique Smith, 10-year-old Justin Simms and 6-year-old JuMyrin Smith, as well as the shooting of 12-year-old A’Miya Smith.
"It hit closer to home,” Rev. Weathersby said. "We have members who are a part of that family who are grieving and we wanted in a very visible way to show that we are in support of them."
Church members organized a prayer vigil in Gentilly Monday to grieve, pray or just offer a shoulder to lean on. When confronted with so much heartbreak, church members say it makes their mission that much clearer.
"To not necessarily tackle it directly but indirectly I believe we can see some advancements,” Rev. Weathersby said.