Family finds hope at AMEN Center in Delta - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Family finds hope at AMEN Center in Delta

DELTA, MO (KFVS) -

Agencies report the number of homeless in the Heartland are staggering and hard to keep count because so many stay hidden. 

However, one young girl and her father bravely shared their story to shed light on the AMEN Center; a transitional home in Delta where they say it gave them more than a home, it allowed them to find love, and hope.

"It means a lot for them to love me," said 11-year-old Kourtney Ruggeri. 

She's now a sixth grader in Delta public schools. 

She and her father, Danny say they fled a negative environment in St. Louis and had no where to turn until they found the Amen Center. 

"I've never really had as much love as they give me," said Kourtney. "This life's better than it was before," she said.

"I needed to get my daughter out into a better environment," said Danny Ruggeri. "She was suffering in school and now it couldn't be more different."

The Amen Center sits in an area so rural their first night here they couldn't find it and slept in a truck in a corn field.

"I was there losing my patience and I am screaming out, "What else could go wrong, Lord?," said Danny.

But he says his daughter's strength and God lit path and they've never felt more secure than within the walls of the Amen Center.

"I feel safe because I have a whole bunch of people protecting me," said Kourtney.

"People need to see how much love is inside this place," said Danny.

"I think they saw something in both of our eyes. I needed help and positive role models for my daughter, I have that here," he said.

They are among 30 individuals living here for a number of different reasons. 

It's a transitional, Christian based shelter and Kourtney says the atmosphere has turned her life around totally. 

She is now a straight A student and athlete and she also leads church services.

"I opened up the services with pray and I ask if there's any needs people would like us to pray for," said Kourtney. "Faith means a lot to me. It's good here because they're joyful and they're loveable and they're really kind and I am 100% happy."

"It's truly been letting her see that there is love," Danny said.

She calls Shirley Hollowell who runs the center a grandmother.

"I love helping children like Kourtney and I love helping people like her father," said Hollowell.

Hollowell and her husband don't just run it they live there among the adults at time the center's been home to as many as 15 children under the age of 16.

"We can not help people if we don't live here," said Shirley. "If we don't live here we can't help people like we do."

As for Kourtney she says she wants to share an important message with her story: If you're lost lonely or scared -- you can find love -- you can find hope.

"I want people to know there's lot of good people out there and they're not alone," She said.

Kourtney dreams of being a veterinarian. They say for now they are very happy and time will tell how long they stay at the center.

The Amen Center has a great list of basic needs and rely local churches and organizations that lend a hand to care for almost 3 dozen men women and children. 

They also need basic things like hats, gloves, socks, and new clothes for the children. 

Philanthropy will hold a Stuff the Van weekend at their Cape Girardeau Broadway store on the 18th, 19th, and 20th from 10 am until 7 pm to take donations to the center.

Learn more at www.amencenter.org

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