the JoyJ initiative

In a world where connections are increasingly superficial, we aim to foster meaningful human connections by offering unique programs for groups and individuals to provide food and necessities to the homeless population in their communities.

Connect with your community

JoyJ provides essential support to local homeless populations through direct outreach programs. These unique programs provide volunteers with opportunities to engage in “spontaneous philanthropy”. This differentiating aspect of our organization powerfully impacts both volunteers and those on the receiving end, extending far beyond the physical supplies themselves.

1,362 Volunteers and counting

The number of individuals who have volunteered at least once, as shown here, is staggering. And they're left with a lasting impact that almost always results in volunteering many more times. Come try it!

5,213 Homeless lives touched

JoyJ measures its success in lives touched. Each encounter represents not just a bag filled with critical and often life-saving supplies, but a moment of spontaneous philanthropy that can last a lifetime.

65K+ Items distributed

A typical comfort bag includes $25 worth of critical items. As a result, our ability to make an impact is due in many ways to the generosity of the individual and institutional donors who contribute to JoyJ. Please consider donating today!

Making an impact

Volunteers from all ages, genders, and walks of life are making an impact in the world and in their own lives through the JoyJ Initiative.

The Brush Family

JoyJ provides a wonderful opportunity for our family to volunteer together.  It is a hands-on way to teach our children about the need to share with others, while making a positive impact on the community around us.

The Brush Family
Bobby

JoyJ has allowed me the opportunity to commit a few hours each month to reach out to the community and help the homeless in a personal and direct manner.  If I can’t give money, I’m glad I can give my time.

Bobby
Leila

As we give out care packages, we also spend as much time as we can engaging in conversation, hearing their stories and telling them we care about them.

Leila
Catherine

It’s a rewarding experience to give someone who is hungry and cold something to eat, socks and gloves to keep them warm.  Most importantly, the human connection that is made is unsurpassed.

Catherine
Chelsea

A refreshing take on volunteering that focuses on the human interaction aspect, leaves you feeling like you had an actual impact on someone’s day!

Chelsea
Gaby

If you have the power to make someone happy or to help someone in even the slightest capacity, you should— both of your days will be better because of it.

Gaby

Get Involved

JoyJ offers multiple ways to get involved, suitable for any type of individual or organization. Our mission relies on the collaboration of three groups of partners:

Volunteers – These are the people who interact directly with the homeless men and women that JoyJ reaches. Volunteers can play a role at any part in an Outreach, and are particularly needed on Outreach Day when they join Chapter Leads in distributing comfort bags to their community.

Chapter Leads – Chapter Leads are the people or organizations who provide a homebase for recurring Outreaches in their community. With logistical support from JoyJ Staff Members, they organize an initial Outreach at their location, whether that location is based out of a civic or faith-based institution, and then focus on growing their chapter over sequential Outreaches.

Donors – These partners provide the resources necessary for JoyJ to sustain existing chapters while growing new chapters elsewhere. Their contributions go directly toward the purchase of comfort bags and the items within, including snacks, water bottles, toiletries, fresh socks, warm clothing during winter months, and a host of other supplies that make the lives of homeless men and women more comfortable during difficult times.

How Outreaches Work

Chapters receive donations from the local community.
Outreach Hosts buy supplies and pack them into comfort bags.
Volunteers receive an Orientation and then head out in teams, led by an Outreach Host.
Teams distribute the comfort bags in their community.

Find a location

In addition to hosting Corporate Outreaches and one-time outreaches, the JoyJ Initiative currently operates 12 permanent chapters – 7 in Manhattan, 1 in Atlanta, and 4 in Colombia – with many more expected as we continue to grow. Find your nearest location below to get started.

  • Neiva, Colombia
    Neiva - Cl. 8 # 16-20, Huila, Colombia
  • Bogotá, Colombia
    Cra. 66 # 23a-42, Bogotá - Bogota, Colombia
  • Barranquilla, Colombia
    Calle 63 # 31-94, Barranquilla - Atlantico, Colombia
  • Santa Marta, Colombia
    Santa Marta - Calle 11 # 21-13, Magdalena, Colombia
  • St. Gregory The Great (c/o St. Vincent The Paul Society)
    144 W 90th St, New York, NY 10024, United States
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel
    230 E 90th St, New York, NY 10128, United States
  • Church of St. Thomas More
    65 E 89th St, New York, NY 10128, United States
  • St. Thomas More's Church
    65 East 89th Street, New York, NY, United States
  • Holy Innocents'
    128 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018, United States
  • Atlanta - Buckhead
    1001 Garden View Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30319, United States
  • Church of Sacred Heart
    457 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019, United States
  • St. Anthony of Padua
    154 Sullivan Street, New York, NY 10012, United States
  • Blessed Sacrament
    152 West 71st Street, New York, NY 10023, United States

Fundamentally human. Driven to connect.

FAQs

How are donations spent and can I sponsor a bag?

Nearly 100% of all donations received are spent entirely on direct Outreach expenses. The total cost of each bag is approximately $25. You may sponsor one bag for every $25 donated, including writing personal note(s) to be included in bags. Instructions are emailed with your donation receipt. Please donate using our secure form at the top of the page.

Can anyone volunteer?

Anyone over age 18 is welcome to volunteer. For those under 18, a parent or guardian must accompany each volunteer during an Outreach and during packing of bags. In these and all cases, JoyJ happily approves community service hours.

Are Outreaches safe?

The safety of our volunteers is our number one priority. When hitting the streets to distribute bags during an Outreach, we want our volunteers to realize that they need to be aware of their surroundings and of the individuals they will encounter while volunteering. The large majority of individuals you come in contact with are some of the most humble, friendly, and appreciative individuals on the planet. With that being said, JoyJ asks volunteers to exercise common sense and to remain in groups led by experienced team leaders.

How long do Outreaches last?

Outreaches are generally held on Saturdays, and last for one to three hours (the average Outreach lasts 1.5 hours from start to finish). The JoyJ Outreach model affords flexibility to volunteers. Volunteers can typically distribute anywhere from one to three comfort bags, and can therefore spend as little as thirty minutes of their day volunteering.

How often are Outreaches held?

Historically, each chapter has held an Outreach every other month. As we expand within our core cities, there will be an increasing number of opportunities to volunteer.

Our Organization

The JoyJ Initiative was incorporated in 2014. It was founded on the vision that the Golden Rule is a fundamental law of the human condition, one that transcends age, gender, religion, and culture. JoyJ aims to infuse this concept back into modern society. We do this by offering “spontaneous philanthropy” programs where groups and individuals provide food and necessities to the homeless population in their communities through direct outreach.

The Golden Rule

Taoism : "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss" – T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien
Islam : "No one is a believer until you desire for your sister or brother that which you desire for yourself" – An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith 13
Hinduism : "Do not do to others what would cause you pain if done to you" – Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8
Confucianism : "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself" – Analects XV.24
Sikhism : "I am a stranger to no one, and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all." – Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1299
Buddhism : "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful" – Udanavarga 5:18
Judaism : "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself" – Leviticus 19:18
Christianity : The Parable of the Good Samaritan: “[Love] thy neighbour as thyself” – Luke 10:25–29

The Leadership Team

In addition to the Chapter Leads who manage each permanent chapter, JoyJ’s highly talented and passionate team of leaders is constantly working to improve our organization while reaching more people.

Senior Advisory Board

Pending

Board of Directors

Michele Marotta, Chairman; Brian Kelly, President; Louise Ulman, Vice President; Brian Ender, Treasurer; Brian Sikel, Secretary; Perry Britz, Director; Fr. Alexis Bastidas, Director.

Advisory Council

Bianca Tamagnini; Natalie Hill; Christian Clark; Leila Araiche; Anyily Gasca; Gabrielle Smith; Camila Torrente; Nick Loury; Andrew Birnbaum; Evan Burke; Annemarie Deslauriers; Dan Parodi; William Donnelly; Jessica Weldon; Nancy Exume.

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