ST. LOUIS – Flossie Henderson is a career educator who now works as legal secretary, but when you mention her charity work, that’s when she really lights up.
“The need in our community I feel that keeps me going is seeing how despite everything people are good, that there is a generous spirit,” Henderson said. “I understand St Louis as a region is known nationally for its generosity bigger than philanthropy, just open hearts, the pandemic has helped bring that out for me.”
She has donated much of her time to St. Vincent de Paul.
“Now there are no home visits, so most of our help is by the telephone. I can hang up the phone and be really encouraged and blessed by the phone call I just had,” Henderson said.
She also volunteers the second Saturday of every month from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Bellfontaine Neighbors giving food to those in need.
“Neighbors just drive up, it’s curbside and get quite a bit of food, hopefully enough to hold them to the next month,” she said.
Henderson is also the last person to ever talk about herself. She is visibly moved by the generosity of St. Vincent de Paul and seeing the good it does in people’s lives, including one woman who had very little when she turned to the charity.
“The young lady had in her living room, a lawnmower and a media cart that had been left there and that was it,” Henderson said. “So now four years later, she had some other life issues going on. She has graduated from a program, healthy as can be, lovely home, so when you ask what’s the result, it’s almost indescribable because it is life filling.”
Her charity work doesn’t end there. She also donates her time to Ava’s Grace. It is a scholarship program that supports students who have or have had an incarcerated parent on their journey to and through college and beyond.
“The students are deserving and all they need is community support to match what they already bring to the scholarship,” Henderson said. “Even though their lives have been touched by incarceration, parents make some decisions, has very little to do with them.”
Dionna and Dewonna Ferguson were awarded scholarships through Ava’s Grace. Dionna is an attorney and Dewonna is a fourth-year St. Louis University pre-med student.
“It’s a very simple process, but the amount of help that you receive is priceless,” Dionna said.
“You’ll receive a second family. Ms. Flossie has been there through everything. Every time we see her, she’s the happiest person, and she seems like our grandmother,” Dewonna said.
While Henderson only focuses on promoting the work of these charities, her caring heart and kindness do not go unrecognized.
“She’s always about others and that’s what’s the best about her. Whenever you need something she is always there and she’s not the self-serving person where she wants it to be about her. She wants it to be about everyone else. She wants everyone to succeed, and she was there for us. She genuinely wanted us to succeed,” Dionna said.
“Motivation, motivation all the time, all the time, always giving encouraging words. One event I think we stayed after for 3 or 4 hours and she was just encouraging and telling us to keep pushing and continue. So that’s Ms. Flossie,” Dewonna said.