CAMDEN, NJ — Although she's been staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic Yaniece Spencer, co-founder of B.O.S.S. Mentoring in Camden, has also made sure to check in on New Pilgrim Baptist Church on 5th Street — where the program is based.

That drive has largely been uneventful, until Wednesday when — following a tornado warning —  a rare derecho rushed through the Greater Philadelphia area. The system is defined as a "long-lived line" of severe thunderstorms traveling in a single direction at high speeds. 

It also caused power outages to parts of Camden.

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"A neighbor had called too to tell me about the damage, which I later saw for myself mainly affected our roof," Spencer told TAPinto Camden Thursday morning. "We just had that roof patched at the start of May."

Spencer and other program founder Rafiah Hickson said they now have $15,000 of damages to the church's roof as well as the interior.

In addition to the mentoring program, Spencer’s family has owned the church since 1996.

"It's very disheartening because we have been working diligently as well as planning our next phase of work to be completed to the interior and exterior of our building," the program founders said. "Since around Noon when the roof blew off, it has been another hard downpour, which is not running the 2nd floor and going down to the 1st floor in which we fully occupy for church services as well as monthly feedings of the less fortunate."

B.O.S.S. Mentoring — which stands for Boys of Sustainable Strength Mentoring — also offers one-on-one sessions, group activities, college tours and field trips. 

"We're asking people help in any way they can," said Spencer, who will head to the church later today to continue cleaning up.

To donate to B.O.S.S. Mentoring click here.

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