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Charity’s House is a beacon of support in Orange Mound

by Johnesha Harris

Fred L. Davis opened the doors to Charity’s House last Saturday morning, ushering in a new resource where Orange Mound residents can receive legal advice, domestic and substance abuse counseling and other services.

Named after his late mother who was a community leader, the house is located at 2424 Douglass Ave., across the street from Davis’ church home, Beulah Baptist Church.

Davis, owner of the Fred L. Davis Insurance Agency, is known around Orange Mound as an advocate for uplifting and changing his neighborhood for the better, and this house is now a physical representation of that. He spoke to a group of family and friends at a dedication program shortly after cutting the ribbon on the porch of Charity’s House.

“I opened this place to fill a hole, to walk the churches’ talk,” said Davis. “There are two growth areas in the black community: churches and crime. I want Charity’s House to create a vehicle where ministry can be conducted but not in the name of ministry.”

Davis said the project wouldn’t be possible without the work of his architect, Joseph Hagan, and his contractor, Roy Perkins. After finally deciding to develop the house into something, he said the project didn’t take long to complete.

“I bought the house and let it sit there a long time before I decided that I was going to move on it,” Davis said. “All together it took about 18 months to put everything in the works and complete the finished product.”

Howard Eddings, a family friend, spoke about Davis’ love and support of him and his family over the years and how this house will create a testimony of Davis’ giving spirit. Eddings’ wife, Delisa Eddings, was excited for the opening and to see Davis receive so much love and support.

“The house itself is just a building,” Delisa Eddings said. “It is the heart behind the house that really matters. He gave his personal money to create a space where the people can use to reach out to those who are less fortunate. The ministry and services that will flow from this house will be powerful and potentially life-changing to those who participate.”

During the dedication, Davis was presented with two handmade paintings and a check from his niece and her husband. The Rev. Anthony D. Henderson of Beulah Baptist Church prayed over the house and its days to come and James Nelson sang two songs, including “Bless this House.”

Many others spoke during the program, including Davis’ longtime friend and mentee Dr. Larry Lloyd.

“I am here to celebrate the success of a man who has mentored me for so long and helped me grow as a pastor,” Lloyd said. “I am a testimony and witness to his love for the people in and around his community.” Lloyd blessed the house, volunteers and the food prepared by Orange Mound Grill for the reception.

Davis’ plans for growth are moving at an accelerated pace now that the community has been made aware of Charity’s House.

“We are going to have a board of maybe seven to nine people making policies and running things,” Davis said. “We will be offering counseling, outreach, anything that caters to the needs of those that walk through that doorway. So many people have volunteered, I don’t think we will have a place for them all. That is an amazing problem to have.”

The house’s mission is to serve the disenfranchised and the marginalized while serving as a gathering place for the hopeless and the hopeful. There will be a community garden and amenities for kids in the near future.

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