By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
It’s that time of year again; school has started, we are back to our regular routines, and we begin to think about and plan for upcoming events.
Autumn brings the thought of switching from the summer heat to much cooler temperatures. Days are filled with transitioning from outdoor water activities or preparing for a vacation trip to settling down into an attitude of contentment from making it through another hot summer. Autumn also brings a development in the foliage of the plants and trees around us, turning them from the green color of growth to the bright colors of change, which escalates to a winter dormancy. Orange, red, yellow, and purple colors introduce even more beauty to our surroundings and attracts our attention. Our eyes take it all in and somehow that changes our inner unrest to some form of contentment…to hope, for a brighter future.
This, in turn, causes a change in the attitudes of those around us. Our attitude can “make or break” the atmosphere from negative to positive. It is up to each of us to make wise decisions pertaining to whom we choose to be, and what we choose to show others about our inner being.
We can have hope. We can offer hope to others, as well.
Joy Junction thinks about the inner being of those who are homeless or hungry and are struggling, in one form or another, with their daily walk through life. It is our desire to bring hope and a possible new future to those who have lost so much.
Toward that end, we offer an annual Thanksgiving Feast meal to anyone who is homeless or hungry in the city. It is not only our way of providing a holiday meal for those who would otherwise not get to celebrate with one, it is a chance for us to put a face to the huge number of those who are truly in need, and try to meet their needs.
When meeting people during the holiday feasts, we come across a variety of personalities of those who, of course, never expected to find themselves homeless. If a moment of opportunity arises, our staff tries to engage those who come for a meal in conversation, to find out their story.
Some share, some would rather not. Some are hurting so deeply, they just need to see and feel the effects of a genuine smile directed straight at them. They need hope.
When we can, we encourage those who have no home to consider Joy Junction for shelter and to join our life recovery program. This 12-step, Bible-based program is called Christ In Power. It takes nine months to complete, but it is well worth it.
The program puts the participants in a place, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically where they can begin to learn skills to eventually be able to turn their lives around. It requires each member to perform and complete 30 hours per week of volunteer duties.
One of our female guests shared that the program provided guidance and a sense of purpose for her as she began volunteering in the thrift store to complete one of her program assignments. She stated that since she had received so much from Joy Junction and its staff, she wanted to give back the only way she knew how – by doing her best through her assigned volunteer work. She now says she is truly happy.
Our program has helped many who have come to us as a last resort, or because they simply had no other avenue. So, we love to hear and share stories like these!
A graduation ceremony is offered for those who complete the program. Joy Junction CEO, Elma Reynalds, shares that, “the participants get to wear a real graduation gown and hat – and many of them have stated that it is the first time they have been able to complete anything. They feel a new confidence that they will be able to move forward.”
Hunger and homelessness in our community is still a major problem, but together we are making a difference! Please consider being a part of the change our city needs concerning the hungry and homeless.