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Second-grader Jaheim McDuffy, right, reads to third grader Elijah Goodwin at Hope at the Brick House. Dozens of children from Davenport's central city have come to depend on the neighborhood center for meals, help with homework, transportation and, most importantly to the founders, hope.

As a neighborhood tavern, it did nothing to help the neighborhood.

After bartenders had slung their last cocktails at the old Brick House Bar at 14th and Ripley streets nearly 30 years ago, the place sat vacant. Even when it was open, the windows were darkened to keep the world out, and neighbors suspected patrons of drug-dealing.

But the two-story building in Davenport's central city slowly began to serve a higher purpose. Various mission-minded people took over, turning the tavern into a place where neighbors could get help and make friends.

Among those to join in the goodwill efforts was Joyce (Gibson) Klopp. She helped various groups carry out their mission of meals and ministry.

About 10 years ago, Klopp and her husband, Cal, added neighborhood outreach to the existing after-school and summer programs for children. In 2015, they adopted a new name: Hope at the Brick House. Police came to help out, volunteers pitched in and parents discovered they could find support there, too.

Today, a once-troubled tavern has made a complete turn-around, and the Klopps and their crew are serving food, ministry, tutoring, transportation and something in especially high demand: Hope.

The story of the Brick House is our Big Story.

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