• Sleep Safely campaign now underway
  • DACA scholarships help local dreamers
  • Local HEAL farmer, Gonzalee Martin
  • Q&A with Matthew 25 CEO, Michelle Creager
  • Spring grant applications due March 1
Working towards each infant having a safe place to sleep
This precious infant is sleeping safely, ABC: Alone, Back, and Crib. Baby should always sleep alone.
Foundation update:
Sleep Safely Campaign now underway
Allen County's prenatal care providers continue their commitment to our local infants. Most recently, seven partners committed to working with Indiana University School of Medicine to track safe sleep patterns in northeast Indiana to identify effective pathways to help all Hoosier families. A Hope Center, Early Childhood Alliance, Healthier Moms and Babies, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, McMillen Health, Neighborhood Health, and Women’s Care Center have all signed on as Sleep Safely education and data collection partners. Parkview Health and Dupont Hospital also plan to join the campaign.

As partners, the organizations will share these important messages with families:
  • Babies should sleep alone in a safety-approved environment with a tightly fitted sheet up to one year of age.
  • Babies sleep safest on their backs. They should not sleep on their side or stomach.
  • Nothing and no one should be in the baby’s sleep area/crib.

The partners will share safe sleep education with their clients as part of their services, distribute one-page flyers about safe sleep, and collect data for the IU School of Medicine for compilation.

“Unsafe sleeping arrangements are a leading cause of preventable infant deaths in Allen County, and that’s why it’s critical to educate families about safe sleep practices,” says Meg Distler, executive director of the St. Joe Foundation. “The Foundation prioritizes programming that supports prenatal and infant care, so the Sleep Safely Campaign is a great way to continue our work.”

The campaign also aims to ensure that every infant has their own safe place to sleep by providing safety-approved cribs or pack ‘n plays to caregivers who may not otherwise have access to them.

Data collection is now underway, and an update on the results will be available beginning in May. The Sleep Safely Campaign is an initiative of the Prenatal & Infant Care Network, facilitated by the St. Joe Foundation.

Information about volunteering or supporting the campaign can be found here. Any organization interested in signing on as a partner should contact Meg Distler at mdistler@sjchf.org.
Promoting the dignity of all people
Grantee Spotlight:
DACA Scholarships help local Dreamers
Karina Vazquez moved to Fort Wayne from Mexico when she was a pre-teen. Although she struggled to learn English and adapt to the culture, she soon found her way and began dreaming of going to college.

Before she could plan her future, however, she had to face a big challenge – applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. Without DACA, Vazquez would not be able to get a driver’s license, apply for a job, or attend college.

But the DACA application process is daunting. Vazquez tells the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “I was a freshman in high school when I had to sit in the living room with my parents, trying to understand all the legal terminology and complete my application.”
Responding to food insecurity and nutrition needs
Grantee Spotlight:
Local HEAL farmer Gonzalee Martin
The University of Notre Dame's Grotto Network recently featured local farmer and long-time foundation partner Gonzalee Martin to inspire others to serve their communities. Gonzalee leads GATE (Growth in Agriculture Through Education) and is the primary farmer supporting HEAL Farm Markets and their following of hundreds of WIC families.

He retired from Purdue University in 2014 where he worked as an Agricultural Extension Educator for Allen County. He currently pastors at Tabernacle Baptist Church. In 1969 he married Mazell Still and they were blessed with two children. He earned his BS from Tennessee State University, Nashville, and his MS from the University of Tenn. Knoxville.
Creating hope in those they serve
Grantee Spotlight
Inspired by Service: Q&A with Michelle Creager, CEO, Matthew 25 Health and Care
Transcribed from a conversation with Mary Tyndall of the St. Joe Foundation

Q: Can you provide us an example of a time when you were inspired by a patient, co-worker, or volunteer?

I’m inspired by my staff every day. They have the ability to make every person feel important and respected. They go above and beyond. For example, we had a person come into Matthew 25 looking for the location to get their hearing aids. The correct location was several blocks away and it was snowing and cold. The person had no transportation and my front desk manager didn’t skip a beat. She just grabbed her keys and drove the patient to the appointment. No one asked her to do that; that’s just the kind of service and care that Matthew 25 provides every day.
Supporting the community through grants
Foundation update:
Spring grant applications due March 1
The St. Joe Foundation is seeking proposals to improve the health and wellness of low-income, vulnerable populations in Allen County. Grant applications must advance the vision of the St. Joe Foundation in one of the four key impact areas: pregnant women and infants; refugees and immigrants; those struggling with access to affordable, nutritious food; and access to quality, affordable healthcare for unresourced populations in Allen County, Indiana.
Grant applicants are encouraged to become familiar with the impact areas by visiting the website or clicking below on "What We Fund." Ideas may also be discussed with Foundation staff to affirm compatibility. Grant applications are accepted through the online portal, and applications must be submitted by March 1, 2021.
 A ministry sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.