Our Stories

JoyJ Outreach in Malambo, Colombia!

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On March 26th, we started a chapter in the city of Malambo, one of the most impoverished places on the Atlantic Coast. During the outreach, 40 volunteers delivered many comfort bags to the less fortunate.

This activity went beyond having a social impact; it gave us the wonderful opportunity of giving back to the community, building awareness, and creating experiences of a lifetime that we will not only always remember deeply in our hearts, but has touched the lives of the people receiving the care packages. We want to share with you some images of the experience, so you can see how many lives the volunteers touch during outreaches like these:
Use your hands to serve and your hearts to give love. Volunteers, your time is worth gold. Therefore, the least we can do is appreciate your dedication, effort and empathy for those in need. YOU volunteers, are a fundamental part within our organization. Because of your work, we could reach less fortunate people, who surely feel very blessed because of your help. Again, we cannot thank you enough for your valuable service to JoyJ.
We are looking forward to new outreaches and chapters. Make sure to check Facebook for upcoming events going on in the JoyJ community. Thank you so much!

103 Volunteers at St. Anthony JoyJ Outreach

Very large outreach organized by the St. Anthony chapter on March 12. Over 100 volunteers distributed 200 comfort bags to homeless people at various location in NYC.  It was a great day for caring and supporting the less fortunate. Thank you to the St Peters Youth Group from River Hedge, NJ for participating!
Many thanks to the  St. Anthony Chapter and all the volunteers for this great event!!!

Second JoyJ Outreach in Colombia















The JoyJ Chapter in Santa Marta organized a wonderful day of caring and support for the less fortunate!!

On March 12, sixty new volunteers in Pescaito, Colombia were divided in four groups with one single goal: To help others in need. The volunteers prepared 120 thoughtful care packages and shared a word of encouragement and support for the less fortunate.  They traveled to a small town of fisherman “Luis R Calvo” in the Magdalena.

We would like to congratulate all the volunteers who participated in this VERY moving outreach… THANK YOU!!

London Outreach – Claire Robbins

JoyJ had it’s first outreach in London! Special thanks to 16 year old Claire Robbins for making this possible, see her story below.

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Claire Robbins

In my school, we had to brainstorm and finish a personal project. My decision was to bring JoyJ to London through an outreach with my school. I chose JoyJ because I volunteered for an outreach in Atlanta. I learned the importance of taking action for the vulnerable in our community and I wanted to share that experience.  For JoyJ’s first international outreach, I set several goals and milestones: 1) a timebound target date of February 26th for the outreach, 2)£400 for fundraising, 3) contents for 30 bags, 4) organizing 10 volunteers.

Along the way, I hit many milestones. I started off with an idea. I talked about the project everywhere.  Probably the most touching thing I experienced was a random event. I was in an Uber car on my way to see a musical with my mom. We were brainstorming ways to fundraise for the outreach. Once we made it to the theatre and before we exited the car, the Uber driver said to me “If I was homeless, then I would really appreciate what you were doing. Here are two pounds to start you off.” This was the point where I knew I needed to spring into action.

I met with my supervisor at least once, sometimes twice a week. We would discuss the next stages of my project. I talked about presenting a self made presentation to the students and faculty of Halcyon during the morning announcements. To make this happen, I had to receive permission from the headmaster. I asked for extra resources from the CFO of the charity and he provided me with the website ( to help me create a presentation to get people involved. Then, I met with the headmaster and I told him my plans and explained the message of JoyJ. He was interested and said he needed to talk to the board first. I was told that the board only meets once in awhile and I was lucky they were meeting next week. My supervisor let me know that I could present at the next assembly. I met with my supervisor to practice the presentation. He gave me notes on how I could improve. I gave my presentation and it went well. After I gave the presentation, I sent a survey out to the students. The survey recorded information on who wanted to help and any remaining questions you may have. The presentation was successful and I had a majority of people who wanted to help. I answered any remaining questions through emailing people individually. I set up a meeting for the next Tuesday. I chose the time so people could talk to their parents about being involved over the weekend. After the meeting, I had a clear amount of people who wanted to help.

I scheduled a date (February 26th) and began to work. My next step was funds. I created a page on Crowdfunder detailing my target amount of money and information about JoyJ. To draw attention, I shared this to my facebook. I received some donations through sharing my project. Then I turned to sharing my funding page with friends and family. I received generous donations from my relatives. I also sent an email to the lady in charge of the school’s weekly newsletter. She put my message into the newsletter and I received an outpouring of donations. I exceeded my original goal of 400 pounds and received a final amount of 670 pounds.

By the time my fundraiser ended, it was time to start shopping. I went through the websites of four popular stores in the area looking for the cheapest prices to use for the outreach. I made a table to see a comparison of prices. I found that Sainsburys was the best option for food and Primark was the best option for hats, socks, and gloves. Brian Ender sent me 30 bags with the logo of the charity on it. The next item I needed for the bags was 10 pound gift cards to a place a homeless person could sit down and have a meal. I went to Pret and I got 30 gift cards. One of the most important things that goes into one of the bags is an information sheet. The information sheet should contain where the homeless person can go to find help (ie: homeless shelters, help centers and soup kitchens) After all of the contents were bought, I only ended up using 470 pounds worth of my funds. I am going to save the extra 200 pounds for the next outreach I’ll complete.

Once I ordered and put everything together, I had to wait until Friday for everything to arrive at school. I brought hats, socks, and gloves with me, as well as, the 30 Pret cards. The bags arrived at school on Thursday. My Sainsburys order came at around 10:00a.m. and I organized everything. I had a total of 14 volunteers help me pack bags and make sandwiches.

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My friend Antonia in particular said that, “Participating in Claire’s JoyJ Outreach was an amazing experience. It opened my eyes on how taking a few hours out of your day can make such an impact on the community around you.” I am so glad to have made such a large impact on my classmates and the needy in our community.

I’ve received calls and letters from volunteers and parents of volunteers expressing their appreciation for learning from and participating in such a successful outreach.




Blessed Sacrament Outreach

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On February 20th, 42 volunteers successfully packed and delivered 110 bags to the homeless of our city.  The comfort bags included scarves, gloves, hats, a freshly wrapped sandwich, hand warmers, toiletries, socks, $10 McDonalds and Subway gift card and an information guide from the New York Coalition against the hunger.

Volunteers reached multiple locations from Penn Station to Grand Central to the Upper West Side. Parishioners from Holy Name joined the packing and distribution.

THANK YOU for an amazing day and a very successful outreach!!


Holy Innocents Church Outreach

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On February 13, a freezing day In NYC, volunteers successfully packed and delivered 75 bags to the homeless of our city.  The comfort bags had many items including warm hats, gloves and scarves. Volunteers reached multiple locations in the subway system making a real difference in the lives of those people. THANK YOU to the volunteers and the donors for a job well done on a very cold day!!


Special Outreach with Acclaimed Photographer Gregory D’Agostino

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One of the coldest days in January during a city issued freeze warning; the JoyJ team put together a special outreach distributing bags filled with hats, gloves, hand warmers, etc to help battle the frigid elements of the city. We were fortunate to have one of our volunteers, Gregory D’Agostino photographer, to assist with capturing the emotions exchanged between our volunteers and the homeless.


When? Saturday, February 27 from 3-5PM
Where? Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in NYC (624-660 W 42nd St. at West Side Hwy)
How much? $45 gets you 2 hours of bowling, shoes + a drink voucher
Who? A portion of proceeds will go to JoyJ to benefit the homeless

Lace up those snappy bowling shoes and join JoyJ at Lucky Strike for some healthy competition in the name of helping NYC’s homeless. Snag your pals, form a team and we’ll share in an afternoon of laughter, sportsmanship and optional booze.

Enviable prizing will be awarded to teams who rise to the creative occasion. Come up with a clever name, beat your peers, do something worth noticing, etc. and win.

Sign up here, and hope to see you there!
The JoyJ Initiative – Bowling Fundraiser


Image: Petrus Olsson

The JoyJ Initiative's photo.

First Colombian JoyJ Outreach in Santa Marta, Colombia

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JoyJ volunteers in Santa Marta, Colombia for the first international JoyJ outreach!

Last Saturday, 31 volunteers organized a great day of sharing and love for the
less fortunate. An enthusiastic group of volunteers distributed 100 boxes on
time for the holidays.

Hats off to the Colombian core group of volunteers for the organization, the
enthusiasm, and the great execution. The next JoyJ outreach in Santa Marta is
being planned as we speak for January 2016!

Merry Christmas to our volunteers in Colombia and to all of you in the US who
have tirelessly worked for the neediest. This year has been full of great
initiatives and we are so proud of each and every volunteer. The mission for the
greater good starts with us!

Blessed Sacrament Outreach

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This past Saturday, December 12th,  approximately 57 volunteers distributed 120 comfort bags to the homeless.  Each bag included a pair of socks, winter hat, scarf, gloves, hand/foot warmers, a prayer card, a freshly-made sandwich, a bottle of water, a granola bar, a bag of cookies, a bag of cheeze-its, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, personal wipes, and a variety of other toiletries, and of course, the important “Neighborhood Guide to Food and Assistance” booklets, in both Spanish and English.  These provide information on where to get free meals, shelter, medical assistance, legal aid, a haircut, a shower, among other vital information.  In addition, we were able to provide 120  $5.00 McDonald’s gift cards (1 per recipient).  Thanks, so much, for the good work that you continue to provide to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.  We hope you continue to experience the Joy of giving and connecting on a very personal level with those in need.
Thank you again for a very successful outreach! Thanks, again, for all you do!