Shop With a Purpose - Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe

The old prescription counter now dispenses gifts with a purpose. By Norwood Walker

Some places are known for their healing powers, whether it be mental, physical, or spiritual healing a person seeks. Hot springs, forest ponds, and volcanic sands are but a few of the natural elements people have sought throughout history. But there are also man-made healing places. Does a building, over the years, absorb a patina of healing or harm depending on what has occurred within its walls? When J.A. Long had the building on the west side of Roxboro’s Main Street between Court Street and Reams Avenue constructed many years ago, he may have thought in the long-term of doing positive things for his hometown; however, I doubt he ever imagined what an impact one of those buildings would have and that it would come to feel like a healing place found in nature.

Thomas and Oakley Drug Store was the longest-running occupant at 109 North Main Street, opening sometime in the 1930s and closing its doors in October 2021. During this time, it became more than a place where prescriptions were filled. It was a trusted place for advice, gifts, and great food from the long lunch counter there. When Beverly Weeks visited the building as it was undergoing renovations, she felt the love of healing that had transpired there in the past. She knew this was the place for a shop and mission dedicated to healing.

Who is Beverly Weeks?

Shop With a Purpose - Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe
Nancy McBroom, left, Sales Manager of the Roxboro store and Beverly Weeks, CEO of Cry Freedom Missions always have welcoming smiles. By Norwood Walker

Beverly is a former TV reporter from Wayne County. She left that career when it began to feel unsafe going to dangerous places in the middle of the night alone, without an accompanying cameraman. She encountered young women while working at a pregnancy crisis center that she came to believe were being sexually exploited as victims of human trafficking. These young women often had no means of identification with them and often were accompanied by someone who raised suspicions. Beverly became dedicated to doing something for them. Realizing that there was a great deal of education about human trafficking but very little in the way of services offered to the victims, she was the driving force behind Cry Freedom Missions (CFR).

What is Cry Freedom Missions?

Shop With a Purpose - Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe
Purchasing handmade jewelry benefits victims and survivors of human trafficking. By Norwood Walker

According to its website, CFR is a nonprofit that “Reaches, Rescues, and Restores Survivors of Human Trafficking. Through jail and hotel outreaches, and partnerships with law enforcement, Cry Freedom Missions locates survivors and helps them find safety at the Cry Freedom Missions Freedom Home, which includes an emergency shelter, long-term care program, and a transitional home. In 2019, Beverly founded the Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe in Goldsboro, NC to employ survivors and help fund the mission. In 2020, a satellite office opened in Sanford, NC. In 2021, a shoppe and office opened in Roxboro, NC.”

Why Roxboro? 

Shop With a Purpose - Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe
Beautiful Christmas items are for sale at Cry Freedom Missions. By Norwood Walker

In her travels across the state promoting Cry Freedom Missions through speaking engagements, Beverly met two ladies from Person County who felt very passionate about what she was promoting and asked, “Why not open a shop in Roxboro?” In conversation with them, she remembered a young lady from Person County she had encountered and worked with in Goldsboro. This young woman had developed a problem with methamphetamines (meth) and had found herself ousted from her home. A couple from Johnston County had taken her in and moved her to Goldsboro. There, she became involved with law enforcement for stealing from Walmart. Beverly discovered that the young woman was stealing food because she was not fed unless she had sex with a certain number of men each day. At first, Beverly was skeptical of the woman’s story because she knew the house where she claimed to have been kept in a concrete room and had visited that house before. The young lady worked with law enforcement, who eventually raided the house and found what she had described. She had become a victim of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The young woman was reached, rescued, restored, and reunited with her family. What better way to honor this young woman than to open a shop here to help others who find themselves in a similar situation?

Only an office was planned at first, but a shop was opened to help fund the work, as non-profits depend on income sources other than donations. The first location was in a small building on Lamar Street, but when Thomas and Oakley closed its doors and the building was renovated, Beverly knew they had found a new home. Seeing the tin ceiling tiles that had been hidden by a drop ceiling, her first response was, “What if these tiles could talk? What stories of the love, care, and healing they could tell had occurred here through the years.”

Why Shop There and What You Will Find.

Shop With a Purpose - Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe
A sample of the survivor-made jewelry. Gifts that give twice. By Norwood Walker

Shopping and gift buying at Cry Freedom Missions is like giving twice. Not only are you finding a unique, quality gift, but you are also helping fund the work of an organization dedicated to reaching, rescuing, and restoring people who have fallen victim to sex trafficking. The shops of Cry Freedom Missions are an important source of revenue.

When you visit the Roxboro store, you experience a place that was a tradition on Main Street for more than 80 years. The lunch counter is still there, but now delicious ice cream and milkshakes are served. The druggist section now serves to showcase an array of various gifts depending on the season. The tin-tiled ceiling has been uncovered and gives a glimpse into the building of yesteryear.

Along the walls are more shelves and showcases with home décor items of every description, but perhaps the items of most interest are the ones that those who have been rescued have made. These include jewelry, pocketbooks, and other small items. They are showcased – as well as they should be.

You will also find a staff headed by Nancy McBroom, who runs the store not as just a shop, but a friendly place to visit. She, to me, embodies the spirit of the organization with her welcoming smile and concern for those who enter. You feel right away that this is a special place to be and that you will find just the right thing for yourself or others. This is not a place to just read about, but a place to experience for yourself. When you do, be sure to take time for ice cream or other treats and sit outside at the sidewalk tables if the weather is accommodating. A really good time to visit would be during Jingle on Main in early December, when you can visit Santa in the very special spot they are preparing for him.

More to the Story

Shop With a Purpose - Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe
Just a few of the many items for sale at Cry Freedom Missions. By Norwood Walker

There is more to the story than room to tell here. There is the story of Sherry Clayton and her staff that work with victims here and in Virginia. There is the story of Marty Perkins who recently completed a 100-mile walk to raise money for the program, and those of the many other volunteers like him who give time and donations. Visit the store, meet Nancy and her staff, buy some special gifts for the holiday season, and learn more about Cry Freedom Missions. You can also visit them on Facebook and online at

Cry Freedom Missions

109 N Main St
Roxboro, NC 27573
(336) 647-4045

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