Janice Blocker’s mission is personal. In 2017 she started the Proverbs 14:31 Homeless Ministry to bring hope, comfort and the love of Christ to the homeless – all things she said at one point in her life she desperately needed.
“I was homeless off and on until I was 9 or 10,” she said, explaining her parents and siblings lived in a car for most of her childhood. “I recognized how mean people can be to the less fortunate … it’s terrible to be a little girl with matted hair and to be walking into a church looking for help … I still carry it … those are things that stick with people.”
Blocker moved to St. Charles Parish as an adult, and her time volunteering at St. Charles United Methodist Church led her to start her ministry. The name of her organization refers to Proverbs 14:31 in the Bible, which states “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
“We recently became a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so that is a big deal for us because it allows us to apply for grants,” Blocker said. “We have a board now and we are hoping as a 501 to expand. We would love to serve families in St. Charles Parish … that is a goal of ours. We would also like to have funds set aside to help send homeless people home to families or friends.”
Blocker said her organization is now planning for their winter event on Jan. 21, for which donations are now being accepted. Top needs include winter caps, mittens, coats, pop-up tents, sleeping bags, socks, individually wrapped food and snack items, first aid kids, pre-moistened washcloths, belts, and womens’ sanitary items. Thinner coats work better for layering, Blocker said, and added that the only other clothing item needed are jeans.
Drop-off locations include St. Charles United Methodist Church and Anytime Fitness in Destrehan. Blocker has also created a Facebook event page titled “Proverbs 14:31 Homeless Ministry’s Winter fundraiser,” where details and a place to donate money.
“I will gladly pick up cash donations and buy gift cards and get supplies,” Blocker said. “We are also desperately in need of a place to store supplies.”
As part of the winter event, Blocker said she also hopes to give out as many Christmas gifts as she can to the homeless population.
“I’ll never forget one year we gave out gifts and I had a woman in her 40s with tears in her eyes that told me this was the first Christmas present she had gotten in three years,” Blocker said. “Ever since I heard that I always do something for Christmas. Sometimes people will look able-bodied, but that doesn’t mean that they’re ok and that they can get a job or hold a job. Most of the time it is severe mental health issues … we don’t always know what’s going on by just seeing someone. No one would ever choose to be homeless.”
Blocker said anyone interested in donating items, money or their time can contact her at 504-510-0999, Janiceblocker51@gmail.com or through the Proverbs 14:31 Facebook page. Checks made out Proverbs 14:31 Homeless Ministry can also be mailed to 54 Ormond Place in Destrehan. The zip code is 70047.