ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For 32-years, Joy Junction has been helping the homeless population in New Mexico. A nonprofit started in 1986, Joy Junction provides emergency and short-term food, housing and counseling to women and families experiencing homelessness.
Joy Junction serves as many as 300 people every night at their main shelter in addition to hundreds more through their mobile food distribution. With the outbreak of coronavirus in New Mexico, Joy Junction strives to ensure the safety of their staff as well as those they are helping.
Crystal Gutierrez spoke with Elma Reynalds, CEO of Joy Junction to see what the organization is doing differently during the health crisis. Elma explains that they typically rely on volunteers to help serve those in need, however, due to the virus outbreak, they are not taking any community volunteers at this time.
Staff and residents are stepping up to ensure operations continue at the organization. Elma explains tasks include cooking and serving food and other daily functions.
During the start of the virus outbreak, Elma says they were almost at capacity caring for residents. Since the quarantine began, she says that residents have become restless and bored causing some of them to leave the facility.
“We told them if you go out, then we can’t take you back since we can’t put the rest of the people here at risk, we don’t know where you’re going,” said Elma. Since they are not quite at capacity, Elma says that has given the organization room for people to spread out and distance themselves.
Joy Junction is taking additional precautions during this time and are prioritizing families who are in need. Before being introduced to the organization’s population, new residents are first put into quarantine.
Instead of taking the bus, residents and staff at Joy Junction are using their own transportation to get residents their prescriptions or to attend medical appointments.
While Joy Junction’s drop off donation site is currently closed, they are taking sealed food donations as well as hygiene items. Monetary donations can be made through Joy Junction’s website.