Serving the Little Rock Community Since 1970

Jaqueline remembers coming to St. Francis House as a child with her grandmother. That was a long time ago, but when she recently needed some help, she remembered where to go.

Jaqueline is a widow with two children and was trying to move into a more affordable place. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get the water turned on until she paid her entire final bill on her previous apartment. Thanks to people like you, St. Francis House was able to help Jaqueline do just that.

Unfortunately, there are often people like Jaqueline we can’t help. We receive calls daily for help with utilities, and for every one we can help, there are many others that we can’t. Help us help more people in our community – become a Partner in Ministry today!

Image Source: dedivan1923 / 123RF Stock Photo [Read more…]

Timing Can Be Crucial

Samantha and her fiancé have three lovely children, ages two, one, and three months. Normally this would be a happy time for the family, but sometimes a small problem in timing can grow to be a big problem. Samantha was recently laid off, but since Jason had started a new job, she wasn’t worried…until the electric bill came. In her apartment building, she can be evicted if a utility is turned off, and the bill came right between her last check and Jason’s first paycheck. Unless they paid it in full, they and their children would be without a place to live.

Samantha called St. Francis House. Social Services was able to help them with the electric bill. Samantha and her family can remain in their home.

We’re so glad to be able to help people like Samantha and Jason and we’d love to be able to do more. There are many families like Samantha and Jason in Little Rock that don’t get the help they need. Can you help? Become a Partner in Ministry today!

Tiny Baby Needs Big Help

Ella was not planning on a new baby for a while yet, so after being laid-off from work, she jumped onto the opportunity to receive training to help her land another, better job.

Three weeks ago, Ella was in Conway for manager training when the unthinkable happened. She went into labor very early. Her baby boy was premature and so very small. Doctors told Ella that he would need to stay in the Neonatal unit until he reached a minimum weight of 5 lbs.

Having no family in the area, she camped out at the hospital with her two year old. When she received her final pay check, it was not even enough to cover her utility bills. Now she critically needs supplies for the new baby – diapers, clothes, bottles, and all in tiny sizes for a preemie.

Ella called St. Francis House for help, but we don’t have anything in preemie sizes. St. Francis House was able to help with her electric bill, and when we spoke with her recently, her little boy is now home. The financial struggle continues. The hospital wants her to continue the first few follow-ups in Conway, and she doesn’t have a vehicle. On top of everything else, Ella couldn’t look for a new job while caring for her children. Can you help us help her?

Donations of baby clothes, small diapers, and other infant needs are being accepted at St. Francis House for Ella. Designate monetary donations by writing “Ella” on the memo line. Online donations can be made with the Donate button on this page – add “Ella” in the special instructions box. Let’s help get this new little life off to a good start!

Photo Copyright:  gdbrekke / 123RF Stock Photo

“It’s Cooler in the Car”

Mr. Johnson is a proud and fiercely independent man. 79 years old, he doesn’t ask for help or take charity. That’s why we’ve never actually met him at St. Francis House.

We received a call from a local pastor concerned about a member of his congregation. He had gone by to pay Mr. Johnson a visit and found him sitting in front of his house in his car. “I’m fine. It’s just cooler in the car than in the house.” His pastor discovered that he had no water, no gas, and no electricity in his home. The grass was overgrown and badly needed mowing, increasing the heat and insects. There was no food in the house, and Mr. Johnson hadn’t eaten.

This was when the pastor took action. He convinced Mr. Johnson to get something to eat and made him accept money for a meal. Next, he went to a neighbor and found out he had offered to mow the grass, but Mr. Johnson had refused. The pastor told him just to go ahead and mow it anyway. The pastor even offered to pay him, but the neighbor declined the money saying Mr. Johnson needed it more.

Next came the phone calls. One local charity only helps with electric bills, so that was the first call. Next, he called St. Francis House. We were able to take care of the water bill. With water and electricity back on, Mr. Johnson can now be comfortable in his home. He can cook again and knows that he can get food from us monthly, though knowing Mr. Johnson, it might take the pastor coming to get it! In this summer heat, we’re so glad we were able to help and to know it’s no longer cooler in the car.

Accidents Happen

Marianne and David have been married for years. David has now retired; Marianne is a full-time salesperson in a commission only position. St. Francis House helps David pay for his monthly medication, but other than that, the couple had been very self-sufficient.

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Marianne fell off a ladder and was hospitalized. For three days she was in ICU in a medically–induced coma to assist her healing. Once out of the hospital, recovery was long, and there was no income except David’s Social Security. Bills began to pile up, and when the water bill had to be paid before it was shut off, Marianne called St. Francis House.

We were able to help David and Marianne, but often we receive far more requests than we have the resources for. St. Francis House Social Services relies on donations from those in the community. We average over twenty calls a day for assistance. Can you help? Partners in Ministry make a monthly donation to St. Francis House. Become a Partner in Ministry today!

Can you help? We’re looking for Partners in Ministry to make monthly donations to assist in situations like this. Even a small monthly commitment adds up to big support.  Download the brochure to sign up as a Partner in Ministry today!

When Home is Not Safe

Sarah was so excited when her fiance wanted her to move from Milwaukee to Little Rock to be with him.  A new place, wedding plans – it was going to be wonderful. With no family of her own near, she was especially excited to be close to his family. She had not had relatives close enough to share her life with for a long time.

But sometimes, home is not safe. Once Sarah was here, her fiance began behaving strangely. His temper flared and eventually becoming violent. Sarah tried to talk with her new family about it, but they wouldn’t listen. Finally, she realized she had to leave. Things were bad enough that she had to leave as soon as she got a chance.

She left everything behind.

When Sarah came to St. Francis House she had only the clothes on her back. Luckily, we were able to get her a bus ticket to Milwaukee as well as provide clothing and food for the journey.

Unfortunately, we frequently can’t help clients like Sarah. St. Francis House Social Services relies on donations from those in the community. The monthly budget for utilities and transportation is only $1000, and just this month we have already had 93 calls for assistance on utilities alone. Can you help? Partners in Ministry make a monthly donation to St. Francis House. Become a Partner in Ministry today!

Can you help? Partners in Ministry make a monthly donation to St. Francis House. Please download the form to sign up today.

Going Above and Beyond

Gordon McGough served in the Army from 1983-1989 in communications intelligence. He was deployed out of Ft. Bragg and served in combat areas during his deployment. After the military, he returned to Arkansas and worked for Sevier County. Later Gordon moved to Alabama to help his father after an illness and where he stayed for ten years. He worked in various construction jobs as a mechanic, electrician, and welder, until he returned to Arkansas to work in Little River. When that company closed he was offered a job in Texas.

Gordon became ill eight years ago and began working with the VA in Texas to diagnose his condition. He could only work part-time, so eventually he returned to Arkansas to receive more medical attention. He came to St. Francis House to live while working with medical staff to resolve his medical issues. “St. Francis House is to be commended for the opportunities they offer Veterans experiencing homelessness for whatever reason. Carol and Ralph have gone above and beyond in getting me the paperwork I need for employment. Mike is helping work with the VA on my medical problems. and my caseworker, Ms. Wilson, does a great job coordinating all the pieces.”

Gordon is now working again and looking forward to getting his medical issues resolved so he can continue moving forward. He is active in the various activities at St. Francis House and is one of the Veterans who speaks with youth when they come visit. St. Francis House is so glad we can be here to help Gordon and pray for a speedy resolution to his medical problems.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Robin Harris knows life from both sides. A Navy Veteran serving as a boiler technician from 1985-1989, he’s no stranger to hard work and discipline. After leaving the service, he worked as a delivery driver and life was good. But a few poor choices put him on the other side.

Robin began using drugs and eventually fell into heavy addiction. “That began a downhill spiral,” says Robin. “I couldn’t keep a job. Spent some time in jail. Even simple things were harder to achieve.” Robin realized he didn’t like that lifestyle and tried to get clean. “But I didn’t really understand what I was looking for. I still wanted to indulge and hadn’t really gotten honest with myself yet.”

Last year he was referred to St. Francis House through the Veterans Day Treatment Center. “This time I took an honest look at things and realized my shortcomings. I went to my meetings, got a sponsor, and worked with the VA and St. Francis house staff. I got a job, a place to live and completed the program at St. Francis House successfully.”

Robin has stayed clean and sober since then. He has kept his job at the Social Security and Disability building and life was looking up. He had spoken with his landlord and let him know he would be moving out when his lease was up. He was ready to move into a better place. Unfortunately, the landlord refused to give him his deposit back when he left, and he couldn’t make the down payment for a new place. Robin called St. Francis House.

Because he had completed the program successfully and had not had problems in the last year, Robin came back to St. Francis House. He has saved enough for a new place to live and is moving in the near future. “Looking over the life I’ve lived, I like how I’m living now better.” Good luck and continued success Robin.  We’re glad we could be a part of your new life!

Help to Start Again

Janice has been coming to St. Francis House since 2010. Working full time, she bought a home and over the years, paid it off. She would come in every few months for food or clothes, then get ahead and we wouldn’t see her for a while. However, a few months ago, everything changed.

Janice’s mother became ill. Taking care of her mother and working took up a lot of time and money. Her mother passed away, and Janice was taking care of both homes as she dealt with her mother’s death. Finally things were getting more settled. Her mother’s house was closed up and all utilities paid and then turned off. Maybe she could get ahead again.

Life doesn’t always follow our plans. Janice lost her job and was living on savings as she looked for new employment.

Then the rains came. Janice’s house was flooded and unlivable. She needed to go somewhere, but the only place was her mother’s home. With no job and no savings, Janice couldn’t afford the fees to turn on the utilities so she came to St. Francis House for help. Thanks to folks like you, St. Francis House was able to help Janice with her utilities so she is now safe and dry and able to start again.

Second Chances

Chito is the kind of guy who’s always ready with a kind word and a smile. Or a joke and a smile. But always a smile. He served in the Navy as a corpsman and worked in construction once he was discharged.

After the military things weren’t so steady. He hurt his back and couldn’t work. He began using street drugs. Eventually he spent some time in prison and ended up homeless. Something had to change.

Chito stopped using and has been clean for two years. He’s in touch with some of his family and wanted to get off the street. That’s where St. Francis House came in. “St. Francis House has given me stability… not having to worry about a place or my things getting stolen. The people are super-nice. Everyone deserves a chance, and I appreciate that St. Francis House gave me the chance to get back on my feet.”

Chito is now working at McClellan Veterans Hospital in housekeeping as part of the Compensated Work Therapy Program. He would like to stay on at the hospital and hopes to move into maintenance where he can use his construction skills. He’ll be getting an apartment soon and be back out on his own. It’s a new chance for Chito. We wish him well and know he’ll keep smiling!