Freezing rain doesn’t stop local nonprofit from giving back to community

The organization gave away over 125 meals during the event.

Freezing rain doesn’t stop local nonprofit from giving back to community
February 17
13:38 2021

Frigid temperatures and freezing rain couldn’t stop Barbara Robinson from helping those in need. Through her nonprofit, What’s Beneath the Uniform (WBU), Robinson fed over 125 people in the downtown area of Winston-Salem.

WBU set up shop last weekend across the street from Church’s Chicken on Patterson Ave. In addition to the food, WBU also gave away blankets and masks to those in need.

Due to the pandemic, WBU was not able to hold their annual summer camp last year, so Robinson felt this event would be a great way to kick off their 2021 year.

“We were doing a camp before COVID started and I just knew I wanted to figure out a way to meet the needs of the community, along with being safe,” said Robinson about the event. “We haven’t done anything all of last year because we wanted to make sure we were planning and preparing for making sure everyone was safe and taking COVID precautions.  

“I just wanted to give back and I knew this was a simple way to do it, because we had grab-and-go bags and it was limited interactions with people.”

Robinson chose the location on Patterson Avenue because she is familiar with the area, along with it being close to Samaritan Ministries. “Growing up, my school is in the area, my church isn’t too far, and I noticed driving through the city on my daily errands that there were a lot of people under the bridge and a lot of people across from Samaritan Ministries that were outside in the cold,” Robinson continued.

“I would see them and they would just ask for simple things, so I figured that was a good area with high traffic and we had a good mix of people to come in. It was a good area for parking and a good area for a mix of people.”

Robinson is hoping things continue to open up when it comes to the COVID-19 restrictions. She was disappointed that they were not able to hold their camp in 2019, so they’re hoping to have one this year.

“We want to bring back our camp and that is our goal,” she said. “We are working on a way to do it so everyone can be safe. We are not sure if we are going to break it up into multiple days or break it up according to age groups, but that is going to be our next big thing.”

It’s been nearly six years since Robinson created What’s Beneath the Uniform. Following her graduation from high school, she saw the need for the organization to assist young women as they mature from teenagers to young adults.

“I did it because at the time I was getting done with high school, I was figuring out my way and I noticed a lot of my friends were going through similar things, but we always just smile and go through life as if everything was okay. But underneath our daily uniform that we put on to address others that don’t really know us, they really didn’t know what was going on in our lives,” she said. “The age group that I really reach out to is eighth grade to high school seniors and our goal is for them to truly know themselves and what they want out of life.

“That’s really our goal, to let anyone who comes to us get what they need. Whether it’s prayer, monetary donations, food, or just to talk, we aim to meet the needs of who comes to us.”

According to Robinson, people were surprised to see the organization out in such bad weather. Robinson said regardless of the weather conditions, they were going to show up for the people in the community.

“I was talking to somebody while we were out there and they asked me if I was cold, but I was like, it’s two hours out of my day that we took out to give back and it was rewarding,” she said. “They were shocked to see people outside that day and I was shocked at how many people were surprised that we came out and served them yesterday.”

The members from WBU prepared the 125 grab-and-go bags, but the masks, blankets and drinks were donated to the organization.

Robinson is a busy woman with all of the things she is involved with. Between family, coaching, her church and her organization, there is little time for anything else in her life. She doesn’t mind working hard in all aspects of her life, because it doesn’t feel like work for her.

To contact Robinson or to donate funds, please email her at

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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