BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For almost 20 years, Visions of Hope has served the community. Now, they're hoping they can continue the good work after an overnight fire destroyed their Biloxi building.
"We are heartbroken. This is our life's work," said Stephanie Gray-Singleton who is a founder of Visions of Hope.
Paper work, books, and shattered glass now litter the ground behind the charred building.
"There's just no words to express what I'm feeling right now," said Sarah Walker, executive director.
Believed to have started in the attic, fire ripped through the non-profit agency Saturday night. Even though firefighters put it out quickly, it's still a total loss.
"We've always believed in serving others. We got that from our mom and from our dad. They were definitely people that loved their community and did what they could for it," said Walker.
The Gray family founded Visions of Hope in 1998 with a great push from their father, George Gray, who was hit and killed one week ago by a motorist while walking down the street. Still coping with his sudden death, his family is now dealing with yet another tragedy just days before Thanksgiving.
"We'll hold on to our faith. We were founded on a foundation of God and faith. I feel that we're pretty resilient," said Gray-Singleton.
Over the years, the organization has provided services to the community such as GED classes, tax preparation, and housing assistance all from the pale yellow house, which has some special history of its own.
"It was donated back in 2002, I believe, and finally moved here in 2003. We don't know who the donors were and it was provided through a real estate agency," said Walker.
Recently, the organization decided to put the house up for sale since they weren't getting much traffic due to road work on Division Street. Now, the priority isn't selling, but re-opening.
"Our community needs us and they've been responding and asking what we're going to do now. So, we're going to try to do something," said Walker.
Though presumed to be electrical, the Gray's say they still don't have an official cause of what started the blaze.