News Off The Streets  February 23, 2018
                                                                           Seeking Help                 Finding Hope               Moving Forward
Islamic Center
finds new way
to serve SJC
amid hepatitis
The Guiding Light Islamic Center was in the midst of a 12-week program to bring meals and winter gear for St. John Center's shelter clients when the Jefferson County Health Department asked SJC to help combat the spread of the Hepatitis A virus.  St. John Center suspended meal delivery from volunteer groups as part of the city-wide effort.
Undeterred, members of Guiding Light Islamic Center, Muslim@Humana, and students from Nur Islamic School of Louisville and The Islamic School of Louisville, found another way to regularly visit the shelter, visit with the men, and serve them with love.
A St. John Center client (above) received a new hat from Tanzeel Mirza, a member of the Guiding Light Islamic Center. Below, he prepares gloves to distribute to the men at SJC.
Instead of food items, the Muslims quickly implemented an alternate plan of providing hats, gloves, hygiene products and greeting cards containing handwritten notes of encouragement for the men.
“Our faith tradition advocates that we be thoughtful and supportive of those in need and we are really stubborn, so we chose to distribute winter gear given our rather cold and harsh winter this year,” said Hamza Foy, Civic Engagement Committee member at The Guiding Light Islamic Center.  
After touring the shelter, the Islamic group recognized the important role St. John Center plays in providing real help for the area’s homeless population.  “We chose to support St. John because we realized that it is really a crucial hub for those who are trying very hard to enter back into settled life,” Hamza said. 
According to Hamza, serving St. John Center and its clients helps his group “gain a greater awareness of the very real problem of homelessness in the city of Louisville and lights a fire in ourselves that drives our charity and our following of the example of our Prophet Muhammad.”
"There are many ways to support the men and we are so blessed that this group of our Muslim brothers and sisters have joined the St. John Center family.  They serve the men in such a meaningful way,” said executive director Maria Price.
Still time to get
Raisin' the Rent
tickets before
March 3 event
Time is indeed running short to purchase tickets for the 12th annual Raisin’ the Rent party from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at the Mellwood Art Center.
Tickets for St. John Center's largest annual fundraiser are available at for $40 each and at the door the night of the event.
Dance to live music from The Remedy, enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres, and bid on a variety of quality live and silent auction items like:
  • Table for eight on Millionaires Row at Churchill Downs with lunch and museum passes
  • A 7-day river cruise for two on an authentic paddlewheel steamboat
  • Two tickets to see Elton John at the YUM! Center on his final concert tour, and dinner
  • Golf for four at Valhalla Golf Club
  • Dinner for four prepared by personal chef Alison Mann
Help us ensure we have a good crowd by  encouraging family, friends and business associates to join you at Raisin' the Rent and be prepared to bid on the impressive array of quality live and silent auction items.
Many thanks to Charah Inc. and Atria Senior Living, our co-presenting sponsors this year.
For more information, to register, or become a sponsor, call Keith Steer at (502) 568-6758, ext. 31.
Wish List
St. John Center is currently in need of the following items:
  • Tongue Depressors
  • Kleenex
  • Ground Coffee
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee Creamer (powdered, no individual packets)
  • Sugar (no individual packets)
  • Artificial Sweetener packets
  • Coffee Stirs
  • Rain Ponchos
  • Disposable Razors
  • Bathroom Deodorizer
  • Q-Tips
  • Copy Paper (8 ½ x 11, white)
  • First class stamps
  • Yellow highlighters
  • Post-it notes
Now there is an easier way to donate to St. John Center, just send a text message.  If you want to support our mission of getting men off the streets and into housing, simply text stjohncenter to 243725.
St. John Center housing case manager Tiny Herron visited Roc, her newest client, in his apartment recently.
Newest SJC housing client
is 'Rocing' his new apartment
I've been up and down and over and out,
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself layin' flat on my face,
I just pick myself up and get back in the race!
The lines above from the song That’s Life, made popular by Frank Sinatra, could well have been written about “Roc,” St. John Center’s newest housing client.
To say the Elizabethtown, Ky. native has seen his share of challenges is an understatement.  His childhood years were difficult due to what Roc described as a “dysfunctional” family.  Issues with alcohol and drugs lead to more trouble.
Homeless since 2013, Roc was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Dixie Highway that same year.  It cost him his right leg.  “It was just by the grace of God that I survived,” he said.
This winter Roc’s survival instinct was put to the test again.  The stubborn 48-year-old preferred to stay outdoors rather than in emergency shelters.  He braved several days of bitterly cold temperatures before his camp was cleared by the city.  Roc found himself in a hotel room paid for by a generous stranger.
After being indoors for a while he became aware of a foul odor emanating from his left leg.  He was transported to the hospital where the leg was amputated.
Homeless camp "clean ups" by Metro Public Works had become headline news, and Roc became the subject of several media reports.
Every cloud has a silver lining and all the misery he suffered eventually lead Roc to St. John Center housing case manager Tiny Herron.  With the help of a federal grant, Tiny found Roc a home.  “Tiny has done a lot for me.  She don’t play.  She gets the job done,” said Roc.
Delivering the good news that Roc would soon have a place to call home was an emotional moment for Tiny and her client.  “Being at Roc’s camp the day the city was clearing it out and telling him he would be receiving housing through St. John Center was the highlight of any outreach or housing scenario for me,” Tiny explained.
“I will never forget the look on his face when he heard he would be getting an apartment.  A moment of fear and wondering where he would go immediately gave way to a hope-filled smile and he began to cry,” said Tiny.
“I think about where the hell I’ve been.  I lived like a pig for a long time.  All I was basically doing was dying.  I was a walking dead man,” Ric said.  “Ain’t nothing like being home, man.  I really enjoy my abode.  It makes me feel good as a person.  My self-worth has gone through the roof.”
Unfortunately, Roc had to undergo yet another surgery to remove more of his leg since moving into his apartment.  He has not let it get him down.
“I have never met a more positive, upbeat individual.  Not once has he ever felt sorry for himself,” said Tiny.  “I've had the pleasure of seeing Roc cleaning his apartment and relaxing in his apartment.  He is so proud of his home.”
A writer at heart, Roc is never too far from paper and pencil.  “I write because it’s a release.  I think people want to hear my story.  I have a lot to say,” he admits.  “You ain’t seen nothing yet.  I’m healed now.  I’m going to be hell on wheels.”

St. John Center employment specialist Keesha Gardner (left) is all smiles as she becomes the first person to take a ride in the used car her client recently received through the Goodwill Cars to Work Program.  Keesha helped Kirk find a job last August but he had no car to get to work and back every day.  Through the Goodwill program Kirk is required to make a modest down payment on the car as well as monthly payments for the next two years.  He must also pay for insurance.  Good job Kirk and Keesha!
Use your IRA
to make a tax-deductible gift
to St. John Center
New tax laws now permit those of you over the age of 70 ½ to make charitable gifts through traditional or Roth IRAs.
Gifts must be made by the IRA custodian directly to the charity and may not exceed $100,000.
For more information please call Ron Sweat, St. John Center Director of Mission Advancement, at 502-568-6758, ext. 29, or send him an email at
More than 50 St. John Center clients enjoyed watching the Philadelphia Eagles upset the new England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4 in Super Bowl LII. SJC volunteers and staff Mary Luke Noonan and Billy Wilcoxson made the night possible.  One guest, John, said, "It was great.  Going to a Super Bowl party just like everybody else made me feel normal, at least for a little while."
St. John Center is blessed with a bevy of dedicated volunteers that perform a variety of important tasks for the shelter and its clients. But something unusual happened on Friday morning Feb. 2 when it was noticed that the two volunteers working at the sign-in desk and the volunteer staffing the telephone located right behind them, all shared the name Sandra.  Three Sandras during one volunteer shift at the same time on the same day. From left are Sandra Campbell, Sandra Hack and Sandra Mlincarcik.

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Address postal inquiries to:
St. John Center, Inc.
700 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40202

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