Maggie Coleman, treasurer of J.O.Y. Ministries of Columbia, has seen a lot of growth in the crisis resource organization since it began operations in 2012.
What started as just an idea has blossomed into a full-fledged organization that serves the community in numerous ways, such as meeting needs in financial assistance, clothing, housing, employment, and even feeding the hungry.
Needs are continuing to grow in Adair County, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the virus hit, J.O.Y. Ministries was spending $275 a month on food. Now, the organization is spending more than $1,000 a month on groceries for those in need.
“We have so much need in the area,” Coleman said. “Our emergency shelter can house only one family, but often we have two or three families in need. We have a lot of long-term goals and we always need more.”
That is why J.O.Y. Ministries has begun its annual campaign.
“Our campaign runs from the middle of November through the beginning of January,” said Coleman. “This is how we raise funds to meet the needs of the ministry. We have 18 churches in the surrounding area that support us, but we are also funded by businesses and citizens in the community.”
J.O.Y. Ministries’ total operating budget is just over $40,000. Coleman said she hopes to raise around $14,000 during this year’s campaign.
“We’re trying to raise one third of our operating budget, and we’ve never fallen short of doing that,” Coleman said. “We’ve even surpassed it some years.”
Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 114, Columbia, Ky. 42728. or can be made online at joy-ministries.org.
“All donations are needed,” Coleman said. “We’ve had people give us a $1 a month. We’ve also had people donate $2,500 a year. Whatever we need, it just seems to all come together. I witness a miracle every day.”
She added that one of the miracles she sees a lot, especially lately, is the opportunity to help people realize it is okay to ask for help. Coleman said everyone needs help sometime.
“During this pandemic, we’ve had a lot of people that have never had to ask for help before, and that’s a very humbling and challenging thing to do,” Coleman said. “It is okay to have to do that. Thankfully, we have been able to make it happen for those folks.”
Coleman and her group have also been able to meet the needs of many others with “Bible School in a Bag,” by passing out Thanksgiving meals and by offering housing to the homeless.
She loves to tell the example of how J.O.Y. Ministries was contacted one morning about a family needing a table and chairs, which weren’t available. However, later that afternoon a family called looking to donate – a table and chairs.
“I would say J.O.Y. meets the most basic level of need in our community and everything else grows from there,” Coleman said. “We’re the place to go when you absolutely have no other place to go. After all, if people can’t get food, can’t get clothing, don’t have shelter, then nothing else matters.”
JOY Ministries is located at 411 Greensburg St. and is open Monday through Friday, 1-5 p.m. Call 270-380-1808.