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Helping Neighbors Starts at Home

Healing and Hope for Ferguson Neighbors

April 23, 2015

For the Keys family, the trouble started when Jason got sick.

“I just couldn’t work my usual schedule, so they let me go.”

Jason, 26, and Erin had been raising their three little girls (ages 8, 6, and 2) in a quiet middle-class neighborhood in their hometown of Ferguson, Missouri. Jason’s job at FedEx was dependable with good benefits—until he fell ill and they laid him off.

“I just couldn’t land another solid job, and the bills started to pile up," Jason said. "Christmas was coming. It was a real rough patch.”

Around Thanksgiving, they were about to have their power disconnected and lose their heat when Jason’s neighbor gave him the number for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He left a message, and within just a few days, Vincentians were responding.

“We showed up early at the house,” says Valerie Fitzpatrick, who often makes home visits with her husband Don, a fellow Vincentian. “We met Jason in the driveway, and he asked us to wait a few minutes while he picked up the kids’ toys before we came in. It was clear that he was proud of his home.”

“Val and Don, they brought a bunch of bags of food and a grocery store voucher,” Justin said. “But I’ll tell you, it was more than that. They were just so friendly, so compassionate, so encouraging. It was truly God working in our life.”

The couple arranged for their conference to help to pay the family’s outstanding utility bills and to establish a payment plan. During follow-up visits, they helped Jason rewrite and update his resume as he continued to look for a better job so that he could pay his bills and support his young family.

Drawing on his eight years of experience in the industry, Justin decided to launch his own moving and delivery business, Just In Delivery Service, LLC. Today, business is taking off: he has four full-time employees and plans to hire four more this year. If revenues continue to rise, he hopes to purchase his own trucks soon (he currently operates with leased vehicles).

What do his girls think of his success?

“I like the trucks!” says Terri, age 6.

“Daddy is the boss,” adds her big sister Tracy proudly.


Editor’s Note: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul respects our neighbors’ confidentiality. If you would like information about Jason’s business, call the manager of membership support, Steve Rupp, at (314) 881-6018.

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