By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
As we celebrate our 36th anniversary, we’d like to thank each of you for being a partner with us as we strive to care for hundreds of people each day throughout the year.
It has been our pleasure to provide as much assistance as possible for those who walk through our campus doors, or approach our Lifeline of Hope mobile food and hygiene trucks. Our heart’s desire is to take care of their needs and guide them toward transitioning to the next step in their journey.
As each year passes, we become more and more aware of the fact that homelessness is not anywhere near its end. After many years in the ministry of helping those who have lost a regular night-time residence, or daily food options, we have come to better understand the “ins and outs” concerning how to serve the homeless and hungry of our area.
We knew, from the very beginning, that handing out coffee or water and a donut or burrito was a major part of the care for those who were without a home. Providing for the physical relief of hunger has always been the first step toward getting a person to the point of wanting any other kind of help. Then, the second step became providing a shelter over their heads during the night.
If you have followed the story of Joy Junction over the years, you know it took quite a few years to get from the beginning stages of a coffeehouse ministry to the current stage of being able to offer housing to up to 350 people a night.
From early on, the campus began to fill with people on a daily basis and it became apparent that we needed more staff. As well, we were learning more about the needs of each individual, and began to formulate programs to educate our guests about their options in life. From the daily Bible study to cooking the meals to sterilizing the bedding…it was too much for a handful of people to handle.
The financial commitment it took, and still takes today, to fulfill all the requirements of running a shelter, caused us to go public with the need for help soon after the doors were first opened. Newspaper, radio, and tv interviews were shared to approach the public to alert them to the fact that Joy Junction would need to close if donation funds were not received in a very short amount of time.
Many compassionate individual people, businesses, and churches stepped up and began sending financial gifts. The bills were paid, the staff received their paychecks, and that became one of the first steps toward becoming a donations-based ministry. To this day, we still do not receive any city, county, state, or federal financial assistance.
More staff was hired as the departments within the organization grew. We now have kitchen staff, maintenance staff, resident services staff, office staff, and thrift store staff who work tirelessly to complete each day’s obligations. We also have many volunteers throughout the year who donate their time and effort to help us complete our responsibilities.
We have updated the majority of our buildings, as well, to give our guests the best possible environment we can until they are able to gain employment and move out on their own.
We are so very thankful for the many caring folks who have a heart to assist us every day of the year as we strive to continue the work Dr. Jeremy Reynalds began 36+ years ago.
Serving the homeless and hungry of our city will continue to be a passion of ours for as long as God keeps our doors open.