“We’ll get through this together.” This has been a mantra in Kentucky throughout an unprecedented time. It is also the chorus of the anthem that has permeated St. John Center during this year.
Because it was too difficult to get to shelters in his wheelchair, Gary slept on the sidewalk for months after leaving the hospital. After working diligently to find a way for him to get a handicap accessible apartment, we picked him up off the sidewalk and helped him get into the car filled with groceries for his new kitchen. “We will get you home no matter what.”
Joe showed up at St. John Center, soaked from the pouring rain, on the day he was released from more than 15 years in prison. He had only a lanyard around his neck with a note signifying that he was deaf and a letter from his sister in his pocket with her phone number. We helped him dial her number and navigate a plan to have her come pick him up so he could stay with her. “We will make sure you will be safe with your family today.”
Freeman tested positive for COVID-19. He was overwhelmed with exhaustion and frightened about quarantining at an unfamiliar place. He refused to go at first. We answered his questions and packed him a bag with snacks, clothes, and toiletries, and then we waited with him for his transportation to arrive. “We want to help you get to a place where you can get well.”
Staff spoke words of encouragement to Zander for months as he struggled with a myriad of health issues and his addiction to drugs. St. John Center was his sanctuary during a dark season. When he made the decision to go to substance use disorder treatment, we maintained communication with him. “We believe in you and see the best in you.”
Nick came to St. John Center daily to shower and prepare for his long shifts at his job cleaning heavy machinery. He met with staff members to prepare to use his income to get an apartment of his own. When the chemicals he was using at work started to causing injuries to his hands, we helped him get the items needed to protect himself. “We are rooting for you to be successful.”
There is a temptation for fear to underscore all that we do, but hope thrives and resilience is on display daily at St. John Center.
We’re all in this together. We are all celebrating and grieving together. We are going to get through this, together.
Thank you for all you do.
Day Shelter Manager