During the holidays, we are able to spend time with family, relax, and enjoy home-cooked meals. Unfortunately, for many people, the holidays can be a time of loneliness and need, just another day to get through. Within our community,  some groups are set on changing that. Organizations such as Joy Junction and Steelbridge (formerly Albuquerque Rescue Mission) provide meals and outreach to those who don’t have a place to call home during the holidays.

For those without shelter, the holidays can only serve to exacerbate feelings of alienation, so a warm meal can work wonders to make the homeless feel less disenfranchised. Joy Junction, the largest homeless shelter in New Mexico, holds annual holiday feasts, such as the  Christmas feast on Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner, and a Thanksgiving meal. These events often host hundreds, creating a welcoming environment for people in need. Other organizations, such as Steelbridge, accept donations in order to feed the homeless they serve.

These organizations do much more than provide holiday meals, however. New Mexico has an alarmingly high rate of homelessness, with the last count finding 1,287 homeless in Albuquerque, though the rate is believed to be higher than that. These groups work to provide much needed services to large numbers of people. Joy Junction regularly houses upwards of 300 people, including up to 80 children. They provide clothes, meals, and housing for the homeless of New Mexico, regardless of circumstance or condition. The shelter has been serving those in need for over 40 years, and is now the largest shelter in New Mexico.

Steelbridge also offers housing and food, along with individual counseling and other resources focused on helping those who stay to transform their lives. Steelbridge’s mission is focused on allowing the people that live there to eventually get steady work and be able to get off the streets permanently. Keeping in line with this mission are their counseling and rehabilitation initiatives for people suffering from addiction. Last year, Steelbridge introduced the Women’s Center, an area within Steelbridge that provides healing and help for women escaping abusive situations. Other organizations, such as Roadrunner Food Bank, provide groceries and meals to families in need that do not necessarily have to be homeless, helping families put food on the table during the holiday season and year-round.  

The existence of these groups also allows the community to become involved and volunteer. Joy Junction often accepts volunteers to serve meals, and Roadrunner is always in need of help sorting and packaging donated food. All of the aforementioned organizations accept monetary donations as well. The holidays are always a good time to volunteer, especially for large events. Joy Junction is hosting their annual Christmas Feast, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center, on Dec. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their annual Christmas dinner will be held at Joy Junction, on Christmas day from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those who come by can witness firsthand how these groups offer those without a shoulder to lean on ways to lessen the physical and emotional effects of poverty and homelessness, not just during the holidays, but every day.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.