Thursday, July 5, 2012
More than a Quarter Century of Assistance to New Mexico’s Homeless: Will You Help Us Do More?
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- It's hard to think that Joy Junction is now more than 25 years old.
Of course, I'm sometimes reminded by friends and acquaintances how long Joy Junction has been in existence when I tell them a bit of our history. They'll say, "Oh, I was three," or "I was eight," when you began Joy Junction!
The need for the services we offer continues to increase. Summit Electric's 2009 donation to us of The Lifeline of Hope was a wonderful blessing. As a result of that gift, we now crisscross Albuquerque seven days a week-offering sack lunches, hot burritos and beverages.
We also provide when we're able personal hygiene kits and clothing. In addition to these resources, we do a lot of listening to the most unbelievably desperate of needs and pray with people when requested.
The Lifeline stops in many of our city's homeless "hot spots." Some of those areas are just economically challenged, but others are moderately dangerous. However, we go where the Lord opens the door, and while taking all reasonable precautions for our safety, trust Him for our ultimate protection.
In addition to Joy Junction's addition of the Lifeline, we're in the initial stages of an expansion campaign to expand resources at our South Valley facility. It’s called “Together We Can.” While serving the homeless and hungry for 25-plus years is a reason for celebration, we no longer have enough space for everyone requesting assistance and as a result many remain on our city's dangerous streets. Our facilities are also in need of repair, and we must add new beds just to get our present guests off floor mats.
While thinking much this year about Joy Junction's first 25 years, thanking God for His goodness and looking forward to the next quarter century, I've also wondered what's happened to some of those precious souls who have passed through our doors since 1986. It's not often that I get an opportunity to find out, so an e-mail a year or so ago from a former Joy Junction guest was a special treat. That person gave me permission to share what she wrote.
Lori said she lived at Joy Junction for about six months in the early 1990's when she was about nine. She recalled her mother giving us, as she put it, “a hard time.”
She continued, “I want you to know that I'm very thankful for the help you gave to our family all those years ago. I remember even though it was a shelter it never really felt like one to me and my friends ... We got to be kids even then, and that's all thanks to you and ... other staff members.”
She continued, “You guys even sent me to a Christian camp, and I remember it being loads of fun. It was my first and last time I ever got to go to a camp.”
Lori added, “The reason I'm writing you this e-mail is I'm all grown up and I'm living in ... Florida, and doing good. After all these years that have (gone) by, I can't stop thinking about you guys, and the people still there that need the same help myself and my family needed back then.”
Lori concluded, "How do I go about sending money to help you guys? It won't be much, but I know every little bit helps, and I want to give to the people who gave so much to me."
Tears filled my eyes as I read that touching note. You see, Lori didn't know it but her words had helped me see that the Lord was indeed fulfilling one of the visions He had placed in my heart so many years ago. That was help plant good memories in the hearts of the many little ones who come through our doors seeking help and encouragement.
I'm looking forward to Joy Junction's next 25 years. I pray for the sake of the thousands of other “Lori's” and their parents who still need the encouragement we were able to bring to her family all those years ago, that you and many others will pray for and consider financially supporting Joy Junction.
If you’d like to learn about our expansion campaign, and how you can help us assist more “Loris’s,” please go to www.togetherwecan.joyjunction.org and give a generous donation. It’s an idea whose time has come.
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