The scene would have made Henry Ford proud.
It’s Friday, November 9, 2018.
In a massive warehouse on the southwest outskirts of Atlanta, an assembly line of eager JOYN staffers worked diligently to pack as many backpacks full of toiletries, scarves, wool socks and gloves as they could.
Their goal? Pack needed backpacks for homeless veterans in the greater Atlanta area.
For the second consecutive year, the JOYN family came together in support of the Backpack Project, a UGA student-run nonprofit that aims to ease the burden of homelessness through providing backpacks filled with donated essential supplies to our Georgia homeless community and connecting them with service providers.
The JOYN staff, family, friends, and clients also united in support of the Backpack Project to raise over $5,465 – funding nearly 274 complete backpacks – through a successful crowdfunding campaign.
It is always a special moment when JOYN can volunteer and make a positive difference in our community.
“I loved working with fellow JOYNers on getting the backpacks stuffed,” said Gary Whitehurst, executive vice president and UGA alumni.
“It was fun, competitive and we knew the work we were doing was going to make a difference to the people we were meeting that afternoon.”
Yet, some of the most special moments came when it was time to deliver the backpacks to the Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO), a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for homeless veterans on their road to self-sufficiency.
VEO provides safe housing to veterans – no questions asked – through an interwoven continuum of care approach that includes a safety net of housing, meals, healthcare, as well as substance abuse and mental health treatment. Additionally, VEO offers job assessment, training and placement assistance.
The visit to VEO was especially meaningful for Jennifer DeLoach, manager of client services for JOYN.
“I loved feeling like we were providing much-needed supplies to people who have sacrificed so much for their country and have fallen on hard times,” said Jennifer.
“It was so humbling to listen to a man that spent his own money to start a place that he could run in a way that fulfilled a real need to the vets and is not bound or hindered by accepting government funding,” she added.
“The vets can stay as long as needed, get back on their feet, and again feel like a part of the society they fought to protect.”
Building relationships and bettering your community is a core pillar of JOYN’s mission to help people live more meaningful, joyful lives.
We are deeply thankful by the steadfast commitment and inspiring generosity of staff, friends, and community of clients and supporters that helped make the backpack project event such a success.
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