By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
Joy Junction is three decades-plus old.
It is hard to believe the shelter I founded was 30 years old last Aug., and that I’ve spent more than half my life at what has obviously now become a lifetime calling.
Looking back, it seems just a short time ago that I came up the driveway of our 52-acre property wanting to reach out to homeless families with food, shelter and the love of Jesus Christ.
We’re currently sheltering as many as 300 people nightly, and providing more than 16,000 meals each month from a fully licensed kitchen. With your prayers and support, we’ll keep housing, feeding and encouraging homeless and hungry people.
But what lies ahead for us as a ministry? If you’ve been wondering, the future for Joy Junction is looking bright, with numerous renovations in in mid 2016 months occurring at our aging property.
For the comfort of our guests we have upgraded the air conditioning at our main building, replaced windows, and put in a new driveway to help make visiting our facility a much less “bumpy” experience.
Now just in case you’ve heard some of the government rhetoric about “ending”homelessness in the near future, homeless people we have talked to and more reasonable homeless advocates don’t think that’s really likely.
So while I believe that we will never “end” homelessness the way the term is bandied around today, Joy Junction is daily “ending” the contributory factors that cause homelessness-one life at a time through its faith based programs.
We’re finding that the need has never been greater. That’s why we are in the midst of building a beautiful a 52 acre apartment complex. Ground was broken on May 15 2017.
Another short term goal includes an expanded kitchen.
Our current facility, while fully licensed and functional, was never intended to turn out well over 16,000 meals monthly. Our chef and his crew do a great job preparing balanced, nutritious and attractively presented meals. But to do even better, and keep up with what we believe will be an ever increasing demand, expanded kitchen facilities are becoming a necessity.
Another thing we think important to our guests is a comfortable and designated children’s area, where moms could go and “hang out” with their kids. While our multi purpose area is cool and safe, something more “kid friendly” would be wonderful.
Something else important to recovery would be the provision of a computer lab for our guests. It’s no secret that today’s society is one where a working knowledge of computers is essential.
While in a well known coffee shop recently, my eyes were drawn to the computer and the complex looking screen being used by the barista to order a small food order and cups of coffee for my wife and I.
It’s obviously not enough to just successfully make a caramel macchiato , a cappuccino or a latte. You also need to be able to handle the complex computer program. Some time ago, what I found out with a little research was very interesting.
If we can provide some of that knowledge to our guests, we’ll be giving them the edge they need to help succeed. Next time you get your favorite coffee brew, sneak a peek at the computer if you can. You’ll see what I mean.
And what a blessing it would be to have an expanded play area outside for the many youngsters who take refuge at Joy Junction with their parents. Play is important for child development, and with your prayers and support we can offer more to our young guests.
Last but not least, we’re also open to the possibility of expanding the concept and operating philosophy of Joy Junction to other communities around the United States.
So having said that, with the Lord as my guide and my wife Elma at my side (who contributed a number of the ideas listed above), I look forward to the next three decades helping the disenfranchised, marginalized, homeless and hungry. I hope you will consider joining us.