Our History

The John F. Kennedy Center, Inc. (JFK) was incorporated as a private non-profit social service agency on June 6, 1968. The agency was formed to address the health, education, social, and vocational needs of the lower income residents of a specific targeted disadvantaged geographic area in the City of Erie, Pennsylvania.

In 1968, 100 clients were served through the Emergency Food and Medical Supplies (EFMS) voucher program from an old storefront. In 1974, the present multi-purpose facility was built. In 2002, a half-million dollar capital campaign brought much needed renovations to the building. Today, JFK is serving 600 clients a year through its senior and youth program. Senior center clients are attracted from all areas of Erie City. The children are primarily residents of the 1.78 square mile area surrounding the agency.

Funding comes from a variety of public and private sources, both state and local.

A Note From Executive Director:

Samella Hudson-Brewton

Samella Hudson-Brewton,
B.S.W., M.A.
Executive Director

It’s amazing what we can do when we come together.

Samella Hudson-Brewton has always been an advocate for those in need, people without a voice who would not know how to access health and social services without help. Samella strongly believes - no matter how impossible things may seem, that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Samella has always been a people person. Her heart was her guide to her career choice. That choice led her to Edinboro University where she received an undergraduate degree in social work with a minor in psychology and a focus in gerontology. Samella returned to Edinboro when she saw a need for intervention services in the community she served, earning a graduate degree in rehabilitation counseling. Samella has worked in the social service field for almost 20 years, starting at the John F. Kennedy Center as a social worker for the Community Youth Activity Program, working with youth and their families. Later, she become director of the social services department, working with a staff of three other social workers. Later, Samella was promoted to deputy director to assist the executive director with internal agency operations. Ultimately, Samella became executive director of the agency after the untimely death of Bobby Harrison, the agency's founding executive director.

Nutrition Services
  1. Admission is open to all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
  1. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and, where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department.

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at

    http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at USDA office, or call 866-632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax 202-690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and wish to file either an EEO or program complaint, please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 or 800-845-6136 (In Spanish). Persons with disabilities. Who wish to file a program complaint, please see the information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer".


The United Neighborhood Facilities Health Care Corporation (UNFHCC)

The UNFHCC is a local health care organization started in 1977 and currently operated by the John F. Kennedy Center and Martin Luther King Center.

UNFHCC operates two health care programs - the Erie County Women, Infants and Children's (WIC) Program and Sickle Cell Anemia Program.

WIC Program

The WIC Program is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant and lactating women and their infants and children up to five years of age. The program provides nutrition education and counseling, vouchers for FREE nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, and referrals for addressing family well-being. WIC families must meet federal income guidelines. The John F. Kennedy Center is one of 14 sites located in ErieCounty.

Sickle Cell Anemia Program

The Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment Program provides comprehensive medical case management services for sickle cell disease patients in Erie County.

SickleCell services to patients and their families include genetic counseling, medical consultations and physical referrals, home study education programs, and financial assistance for care.