Vickie Burks, who has been a housing case manager at St. John Center for Homeless Men since September 2008, uses a simple truth to help the 20 men she works with live successfully in apartments of their own.
“My philosophy,” she said the other morning, in her office to the left as you face the center’s front counter, “is if you have a fish you can eat for a day. But if you know how to fish, you can eat for a lifetime.”
The working poor are always present at every homeless shelter and St. John Center is no exception.
Meet Walter. Soon to be 52 years old, he is trying to make it on his own with a minimum wage paycheck.
Since last February, Walter has been employed by a national fast food chain. He is a good worker and has gotten two raises since he started. He works fulltime and makes just under $8 per hour, giving him a weekly paycheck, before taxes, of about $315.
All proceeds from food and drink purchased at Flanagan’s Ale House, 934 Baxter Avenue, from 11 a.m. until close on Monday Sept. 22 will go to support the Dona O’Sullivan Fund to Fight Homelessness.
When the subject of perfect jobs comes up, Frank Whetstone leaves the room. Five days a week he battles the mess and dirt left behind by an average of 170 men, and 15 staff, that visit St. John Center every day.
As plant manager of the Center, there is nothing the man has not seen and cleaned up. In the interest of good taste the details have been omitted. And when one considers the fact that Frank has been waging this war for 15 years, is 70 years old, and suffered a stroke three years ago, the story becomes nothing short of amazing.
St. John Center supporters can now put a little extra money in St. John Center’s coiffures simply by doing their grocery shopping at Kroger. And the best part is, there is absolutely no cost to the participants.
The Kroger Community Rewards Program is a simple way for anyone who buys groceries at their local Kroger store to donate dollars to St. John Center with every item they buy.