81-year-old DC jail chaplain changes lives outside of prison walls

It's not unusual to have friends just drop in; once you've been invited you're always welcome to the home of Rev. Virginia Williams.

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) - It's not unusual to have friends just drop in; once you've been invited you're always welcome to the home of Rev. Virginia Williams.

She's an 81-year-old prison chaplain who has opened her home to hundreds of ex-inmates, the homeless, or people just down on their luck for over 20 years. 

“I was bound in the streets and Mother Ginger has ministered to me,” said Jaqueline McSwain. “Any needs that I need to be met, she would do it and she doesn't trip about it like that. She has been there for me good, bad, or indifferent.”

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"I lost my job and couldn't pay my bills and she let me sleep on her back porch, said Yusef Keith. “She saved my life almost."

“I was never concerned (about strangers being in my home) because I feel like this is a calling God has given me and I just feel like I'm protected by Him,” said Rev. Williams.  

The reverend is also healed by Him; recovering from breast cancer surgery to fulfill her divine purpose. She’s been paying out of pocket all these years and relies on food and clothing donations to help her get by.

In January, she applied and was granted non-profit status. VW Hands On Mentoring is officially a 501C3 and can begin applying for grants.

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“I don't charge anybody because it's not about that,” the reverend said. “It's about showing them there is another way. I just enjoy it and I think if more of us would communicate to people with need than this would be a better world.”

“I used to say 'mother, when you get to heaven can you speak up for me,'” said McSwain, “because it’s just amazing the things she does…it’s like who are you?!”

“I'm not looking for anything,” said the reverend, “I told my children that when I pass, I want my tombstone to say: 'If I can help somebody as I pass along this way than my living will not be in vain.'"

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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