BLOC Screen Print is coming up on our 1-year anniversary. It’s been amazing to see how God has been orchestrating this ministry.
It all started with a phone call that the director of BLOC Ministries (Dwight Young) made to me while I was working my landscaping company. I was in the process of handing my business to my son Andy. I just happened to ask Dwight if he was doing any hiring because I wanted to get into ministry, mentoring men somehow. He went onto say how they wanted to start a screen printing business and hire the “unemployable” by teaching them a trade/work ethic which will allow them to re-enter the job market. I didn’t know much about screen printing but God had that all planned out already!
We began on July 11th, 2016 by moving some of the existing older equipment that we had in another building to our current location on Burns St. God brought different people to me and I visited a couple different screen shops that were willing to help us out and they loved the mission that we had to reach the Lower Price Community one by one. We had some pretty raw equipment that produced t-shirts but not the best quality and we couldn’t do much volume. Then God orchestrated a partnership the St Vincent DePaul (HELP) Program which provided funds for a new washout bin and state of the art exposure unit which allowed us to cut down our turnaround time from 3-4 week lead time to 2-3 hours! What a Blessing!
At that time, we had 2 men employed, Philip and Anthony. Philip has been a part of BLOC’s after school program for a couple years and he has grown in the Lord quite a bit since he started with me in August. Anthony came from the HELP program and had been incarcerated. Anthony made a tremendous amount of progress in the couple months he was with us until he graduated from his training program in January. Since then we hired Quentin, who started February 14th, who is also from the HELP program and he actually lives less than a block away from our shop. Since he has started working with us he has been able to save enough money to buy himself a car! Praise God!
Our quality has steadily improved over the months as I have been able to go to a printing seminar in Chicago conducted by my supplier of printing supplies and another one locally that has given me opportunities to improve our skills and get the necessary equipment/supplies to provide high quality t-shirts. April was our 1st month that with all the sales that God has brought our way we have been self-sustaining and not have to take any funding that could be going to other areas of ministry to pay our bills!
Jonathan started with us June 1st and he lives in the neighborhood as well and has been a good addition to our team. He has been eager to learn all he can to help us grow as a ministry. God and his timing appeared again as we were wanting to upgrade our 6 head printer so that we can get better at registering (aligning the screens) our multi-color jobs. We had a donor gift us about $4000 but we needed $8500 to get the necessary new equipment we needed. About a month ago a donor went on a tour of the ministry as a whole. They stopped by BLOC Screen Print and wanted to be a part of the ministry so they wrote a check for the difference we needed in order to upgrade our equipment! Since then more orders have been coming in and we’ve been able to increase our volume! God and HIS timing! The word is getting out more and more and people want to be part of the story that helps BLOC Screen Print change lives in the Price Hill Community!