Johnsonville woman opens city’s first community center to “offer everyone into our hearts”

Positively Carolina

JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) – A Pee Dee woman’s dream of a central location to help people around her city is coming true.

Barbara Black, who’s the founder and CEO of Lydia’s Nest, says she’s been inspired to volunteer for a decade.

“Over the years, I’ve just been working and didn’t really have a place,” Black said.

That was the case until early last year, when she teamed up with Tannesha Clements to buy a former church building on East Broadway Street.

“I said, ‘Ok, we’re going to do this,’ because God has something in store for us and it’s going to be bigger than we can imagine,” said Clements, who’s the COO and executive director of Lydia’s Nest.

They almost opened up their new community resource and development center, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit, so they switched to giving out food.

“I know in our first food drive, we fed over 3,000 individuals,” said Black.

Her community center for Lydia’s Nest is finally open. A ribbon cutting and grand opening was held Thursday evening.

The center will offer many services not found in Johnsonville like financial and career resources.

“They would have to travel to Lake City, which is about 20 miles away, or they would have to travel to Florence, which is another 45 minutes away, and a lot of the people here don’t have a car,” Black said.

The center will also tutor kids after school or help with virtual classes.

“Some kids here in this community don’t have WiFi,” said Black. “They don’t have internet services.”

Black named the organization and center after Lydia of Thyatira, who’s in a Biblical story that shares her dream.

“She’s just the maker of purple, but she’s also the one that invited Paul and Silas in when they were out ministering to different cities,” Black said. “That’s how we are. We’re just going to offer everyone into our hearts.”

You can learn more about the center at lydiasnest.org or on the Lydia’s Nest page on Facebook.

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