Sunday, July 1, 2012
Heat Puts Excess Pressure on Homeless; Shelter Can Use Immediate Help
News Release from Jeremy Reynalds
at Joy Junction
Tel: (505) 400-7145
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Look around Albuquerque and many other cities nationwide, and you will see people trying to beat the summer heat, sitting under a shade tree, drinking a cool beverage, or sipping a glass of ice tea close to the air conditioner.
But where can a homeless person go to escape the extreme temperatures that occur at this time of year?
One place is Albuquerque's largest emergency homeless shelter. Joy Junction is currently housing as many as 300 people nightly.
In addition, Joy Junction serves three full meals each day. That amounts to as many as 10,000 meals a month served on site at the shelter, and thousands more through its mobile feeding ministry, The Lifeline of Hope.
"We offer those with nowhere else to go a place out of the sun," said Joy Junction's Founder and CEO Dr. Jeremy Reynalds.
"Of course, we hope that if people come to Joy Junction initially to escape the heat, that they will end up joining our life recovery program," Reynalds said. "That is the backbone of everything we do at Joy Junction."
Reynalds said, "As we go all over Albuquerque with The Lifeline of Hope, hitting a number of the homeless hot-spots, we meet many who are desperate for water, juice or a meal. As we were listening recently to some of those we were helping with a meal, the food we gave them was the first time they had eaten that day."
Reynalds added, "Most people think nothing of putting a few coins in a soda machine or stopping at the convenience store to pick up a fountain drink. But if you're homeless and broke on Albuquerque's streets, or maybe just have enough money to pay the rent and nothing else, you don't have that luxury."
Reynalds offered some useful suggestions for helping homeless and near homeless during the hot weather. Unless there appear to be exceptional circumstances, don't give monetary handouts. Cash could be used to buy alcohol or drugs that may inhibit a person's ability to sense the harmful effects of exposure to heat and sun.
Instead, consider giving bottled water and refer the person to an agency such as Joy Junction that provides food, shelter and other assistance.
Reynalds noted that food is often in short supply at homeless shelters during this time of year, especially the sandwich items and juices that are a staple of the sack lunches given out on The Lifeline of Hope.
In addition, Reynalds said, clean, light and loose clothing is helpful for Joy Junction staff to give out while on outreach. It also helps those who have been on the streets and decide to come to Joy Junction or another shelter to clean up.
Disposable diapers are always needed at Joy Junction. They help children cope with the heat. Diapers of course need to be changed more often to combat heat and diaper rash.
Travel sized toiletry items-given out at both Joy Junction and frequently to people using the Lifeline of Hope-are always welcome. Right now the shelter has none.
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