By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
Controversial Viral Video Tells Viewers to “Fitch the Homeless.”
Joy Junction Gives Abercrombie & Fitch Clothing to Guests: Urges Others to Give Clothing to their Local Homeless Shelter
Writer Greg Karber is giving Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to the homeless, and he’s hoping others will join in.
According to Karber’s YouTube viral video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=O95DBxnXiSo&feature=player_detailpage), it’s his way of responding to recent reports about A&F CEO Mike Jeffries.
Jeffries has been in the news this week because he said that A&F clothes are for “cool kids” and are absolutely “exclusionary.”
Karber’s stance has plenty of detractors, with some homeless advocates saying he is making use of the homeless and “dehumanizing” them.
However, I don’t agree with Karber’s critics. I see many of our homeless guests as being in the same category as those individuals whom Jeffries apparently doesn’t want his stores to serve; they’re marginalized and often scorned.
I hope this video helps bring attention to the plight of the homeless, and brings donations to homeless agencies nationwide in what is often a very dry season for giving.
Joy Junction Transportation Manager Lisa Woodward (who was formerly homeless) said, “I believe … that this response to Abercrombie & Fitch does help open the eyes of many blinded by the injustices done to the homeless or anyone who is not within today’s view of beautiful and worthy of simple respect and dignity.”
She added, “Today’s world sticks its collective nose up in the air to anyone who doesn’t make a certain amount of money per year and is able to fit in size 5 clothing. In addition, the homeless themselves are seen as festering sores on the face of their view of the world and what it should be. Perhaps this gentleman and others like him can widen the view of those with blinders on.”
I’ve read some comments that say Jeffries has a right for his brand to sell-or not-to whomever it wishes.
That’s true. And we also have a right to say what we think of the decisions made by Jeffries and A & F. With that in mind, we had a small giveaway of A& F clothes at Joy Junction on Sat. May 18.
Our guests seem to really appreciate the unexpected bounty, with one man very happy with his A&F shirt. I hope people will tour their local thrift stores, buy up A&F clothing, and donate it to their area homeless shelter.
Karber’s YouTube video touts his idea of giving Abercrombie clothing to the homeless. In the video, he buys A&F clothing from L.A. thrift shops and then gives them away to people living on the streets of East Los Angeles.
There’s also a growing controversy over the fact that A&F does not sell women’s clothing above a size 10.
That’s according to a Business Insider article (www.businessinsider.com/abercrombie-wants-thin-customers-2013-5#ixzz2TbafhVwQl) in which Robin Lewis, co-author of “The New Rules of Retail”, was quoted as saying about Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, “He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
A 2006 Salon article (www.salon.com/2006/01/24/jeffries) quoted Jeffries as saying, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes), and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
After Jeffries claimed his comments were taken out of context, an eonline article said, (www.eonline.com/news/416531/abercrombie-fitch-ceo-mike-jeffries-doesn-t-want-fat-customers-says-author-robin-lewis/news/416531/abercrombie-fitch-ceo-mike-jeffries-doesn-t-want-fat-customers-says-author-robin-lewis),”While Jeffries’ quotes certainly shed light on the brand’s ads, it’s not clear how much Lewis’ comments reflect his own opinions of A&F and how much they accurately reflected the brand’s actual attitude.”
Author Jennifer Chan continued, “But here’s one thing we can all agree on: If that’s the brand’s true position, it’s clearly going to alienate a lot of people.”
Never a truer word spoken.
An education can unlock the doors to so many opportunities. Yet, many children who are homeless do not receive the education they need to succeed, putting them at a disadvantage when they grow to adulthood. Many will find themselves only continuing the cycle of homelessness they experienced as children and/or young adult. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
Here’s my mother’s day story. While I wrote it in 2000 I believe that it is still just as relevant this year as it was back then.
The man made his way slowly up the stairs to the second floor of the hospital where his mother was a patient in the geriatric unit. He walked through the ward, passing by a variety of elderly people in various states of apparent mental difficulties and physical decay.
While he had been warned that his mother’s health was rapidly deteriorating it was still a shock to him when he saw her. She was sleeping but her breathing was heavy and labored. Her hands, lying pathetically at each side of her frail body, were badly swollen. Her once immaculately permed hair fell untidily in all the wrong places.
Being assured by a nurse that it would be okay to wake up his mother, the man went over to his mom and gently placed his hand on her shoulder. “Mom, it’s me,” he said. “Can you wake up?”
The woman stirred, blinked, opened her eyes fully and although a little confused appeared to be pleased to see her visitor.
“How are you?” the man asked.
“Not so good,” she said in a raspy, wheezing voice, speaking with difficulty. “I ask them to come and they don’t. I’ve got bad phlegm. Can you get me some tissues?”
The man took the nurse aside and asked her what exactly was wrong with his mother. She told the man that despite running all sorts of tests they didn’t exactly know. However, none of the tests explained the physical problems being faced by the man’s mother. The nurse pointed out that the man’s mother did have a drug patch attached to her back to help alleviate some of the pain she was experiencing.
After saying goodbye, the man left and came back the next day. His mother was sleeping. This time, things were worse than yesterday. When the man’s mother was woken up, her face was permeated with a blank, vacant stare. She was even unable to recall who had visited her that morning.
Then with the man standing directly in front of her, she said how nice it would be if her so n would come to see her. The man sighed inwardly and went to see the nurse, who again reiterated that while they didn’t know exactly what was wrong with his mother they were still doing all they could to help her. However, his mother apparently didn’t think so. With that vacant gaze she still kept telling her son, (apparently referring to the medical personnel) “I keep calling but they never come.”
A tragic story, but one especially gut wrenching for me – because the elderly woman was my mother. I visited her in late February 2000 as she lay in a hospital bed in South England: a “guest” of the country’s nationalized health service.
A couple of days later I was back in the United States, so glad that a couple of friends had all told me that I should do whatever it took to pay a visit to my “mum” while I could. The week after my return, life went on as usual — except that as you might imagine my mother was never that far from my thoughts.
The following weekend arrived and with it plans for a birthday party for one of my sons, combined with a high school graduation celebration for another and a birthday party for my granddaughter. While it was a happy occasion the joy was tempered by a phone call I received the day of the party.
My mother’s hospital had called saying that she was getting steadily worse and it was not anticipated that she would live through the day. When I asked exactly what was wrong they still didn’t know. In fact, the response I received was very vague and non-committal.
However, being on the other side of the ocean, and being unable to visit physically, what else could we do except pray and commit the situation to the Lord? So that’s exactly what we did. We then began getting the house ready for the party. Mid-way through the gathering, the phone rang. It was a nurse from the hospital in the United Kingdom, saying she was sad to have to tell me that “mum” had passed away a couple of hours before.
As you can imagine, I was very glad that the Lord had prompted me to go see her before she passed on. (The Lord had also been gracious enough to provide the funds for the airfare as well). However, I was especially thrilled that some months before this, when “Mum” first became ill, that I had contacted the pastor from my old church in Bournemouth, England and that he had agreed to go and visit my mother.
While my mother had initially been very hostile to the gospel when I gave my life to the Lord in England in the mid 1970′s, (probably due at least in part to my over zealousness in the way I shared the gospel with her) she received Pastor Vic very warmly. As I knew he would, Vic told my mom all about the love that Jesus Christ had for her. When he asked her if she believed what he was saying, she apparently replied (in that feisty manner that only she could) “Of course I do, I’m Church of England.”
I believe that one day I will join “mum” around the throne of the Lord and we will praise and worship Him together for all eternity. Maybe some of you reading this have poor or severed relationships with your loved ones. Perhaps some of you haven’t spoken to your parents for years and still have no desire to do so. Maybe they were bad parents and you have absolutely no desire to remember anything at all about your childhood.
I understand. There were some pretty rocky moments between my mother and myself. However, as a believer, I made up my mind some years ago that I was Biblically obligated to forgive my mother and love her no matter what she had or hadn’t done. And after a close friend of hers died a few years ago, I made a schedule to call her regularly so I could at least check on her in some limited fashion.
The situation boils down to this. As a friend of mine once articulately stated, the most important thing in life is relationships; firstly with God and then with each other. Make sure that your relationship with God is right, and then take care of all of the other relationships in your life. You will never regret doing so. We are not promised tomorrow. In fact, tomorrow may never come.
From the Streets to the Pinnacle of Academia: Once Homeless…He now has a Ph.D.
Shelter founder tells his story in new book “A Sheltered Life.”
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) – The man who founded and runs New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter was once homeless himself.
However, in 2006, Joy Junction Founder and CEO Jeremy Reynalds completed an earned doctorate in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles.
The British-born Reynalds shares his fascinating story in his newest book, “A Sheltered Life.”
It tells that how after coming to America from Britain at age 20 (where he had lived a very “sheltered” life), Reynalds became homeless through unfortunate circumstances, then went on to found one of one of the Southwest’s largest homeless shelters.
Reynalds reminds readers that even relatively affluent people can sometimes be just a few steps away from homelessness, and that everyone needs to have compassion on all homeless people regardless of their status.
“Homelessness is a tragedy,” Reynalds said. “Most times when driving through downtown Albuquerque, I see a parade of people pushing shopping carts or toting what looks like backbreaking backpacks. Each of us is responsible to do whatever we can to help the needy.”
In addition to Reynalds’ story, “A Sheltered Life” also tells the stories of a number of individuals assisted by Joy Junction.
With no government funding, Joy Junction shelters as many as 300 people each night, and with meals served on its mobile feeding unit “The Lifeline of Hope,” serves more than 16,000 meals a month.
To learn more about Joy Junction go to www.joyjunction.org
“A Sheltered Life” is available at major online retailers, including Barnes and Noble at www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sheltered-life-jeremy-reynalds/1115109261?ean=9781449790202&itm=1&usri=9781449790202
Have you heard of the Food Stamp Challenge? The Food Stamp Challenge is an attempt by anti-hunger activists to bring to light the difficulties a family at or below the poverty line faces when trying to buy enough food to stay healthy and nourished. The ultimate goal is to raise support for anti-hunger efforts, both locally and nationally. Read the rest of this entry »