My Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (GDMLI) small group had the opportunity to serve with Joppa a few months ago.
What Joppa does:
- Express Christ’s unconditional love
- Build relationships & visit often
- Help people stay warm, dry and healthy
- Provide food, supplies & care
- Respond to needs & emergencies
- Be a voice, advocate & link to resources
- Encourage positive steps forward
- Provide aftercare once off the streets
I was made aware of this group through Larry Wieland of Ace Body & Motor who volunteers every Sunday with the organization. He primarily chops wood and brings it around to all of the homeless camps. And boy, are there a lot of them in Des Moines.
I didn’t know that homelessness was so prevalent in Des Moines. You can bet, that under just about every bridge and wooded area in the city, there is a homeless camp. Some individuals want to live this lifestyle, others fell victim to it.
Our service that day consisted of meeting Rick, the main coordinator, visiting two camps and just chatting with the homeless. Some were high, others were down to earth and very personable. Some had plans to leave Des Moines. Another was getting her degree online at the downtown library…
On the day we served, we were out in the field visiting a camp with our coordinator and a newly homeless man was being dropped off. This was going to be his first night sleeping out in the elements. Could you imagine? How would you react? It could happen to any of us…