CORE SERVICE AREAS
Today, Joi’s Angels, provides wholesome groceries, “farmer’s market” fresh fruit, produce, and meats to over 2,000 families per month. The food pantries and free farmer’s markets are held in Angel House as well as multiple satellite locations throughout Northern New Jersey.
Distribution sites include: a low-income housing authority building, a community college, a veteran’s hospital, and multiple low-income senior citizen buildings.
Joi’s Angels supplies food at outreach events sponsored by our community partners and delivers food-in-bulk directly to those partners for their own programs. On average, we participate in two to three partner-sponsored events per month.
Annually, we distribute turkeys for Thanksgiving (“Turkey Time”), and cater—“from soup to nuts”—events that we host: the Holiday Carnival, National Night Out Community Barbecue and the annual Community Baby Showers.
We offer emergency food assistance to persons referred by: the Essex County Division of Welfare, the East Orange Family Success Center, the Essex County 1-Stop Employment and Training Center, the Urban League of Essex County, and Sierra House—to name a few. And emergency food assistance is available to any individual or family, even without referral or documentation.
Because many of our student, adult, and re-entry volunteers are of modest means, they receive a meal or bag of groceries each time they serve as food baggers, event staffers, furniture movers or food-truck unloaders.
The men’s residence/shelter is the mainstay of Joi’s Angels. Licensed to house up to 16 men, we provide supportive housing to men with mental disabilities. Short-term crisis residency stays range from 24 hours to two weeks. Referrals for emergency shelter fluctuate significantly. Annual short-term crisis residency ranges from a low of 22 persons to a high of 50 persons.
Joi’s Angel’s is an Operation Warm Heart partner organization, offering “Code Blue” access to temporary emergency housing based extreme temperature forecasts. Housing includes hot meals and bathing facilities. Our bagging/pantry/storage room and living room can be repurposed to immediately house up to 50 homeless persons.
Mark works painstakingly to ensure that the men are comfortable, and of sound body, mind, and spirit. To that end, he conducts check-in sessions Monday through Thursday. This allows him to assess the men’s contentment; it makes him acutely aware of the tone of the house.
We require that all long-term residents enroll in an outpatient or partial care mental health program. This enables us to work in concert with mental health professionals to ensure that residents remain on a trajectory of continuous self-improvement.
Residents receive snacks, food, and when available, toiletries and bed linens. Plus, Mark will do whatever it takes to fulfill any resident’s special request, within reason. For example, when one resident requested a better television, Mark made certain that he found a donor so that every room had a new television.
And since Mark believes that cleanliness is next to Godliness, The Angel Crew cleans the house each morning, Monday through Friday. The place is spotless!
Life essentials are costly and thus difficult to acquire, so we’ve experienced extraordinary demand for these products. We define life essentials as diapers, baby formula, personal hygiene products for women and men, and feminine hygiene products for girls and women. The scarcity of these products may explain why there are so few available statistics on the distribution of life essentials to needy persons from the public and nonprofit sectors.
Joi’s Angels provides thousands of life essentials packages to individuals and families at Angel’s House, through community outreach events, and in conjunction with recreation programs and schools in several municipalities. We distribute personal care packages at high school “Teen Talks”, the Essex County Job fair, several employment and training centers, the Newark Housing Authority, and Essex County College. Mark, Joi and volunteers created over 700 large personal care packages for the Holiday Carnival alone.
For women and infants, we host an annual Community Baby Shower and a monthly “Mommy Diaper Pantry”.
The baby shower is a “true to life” traditional Baby Shower experience, which includes games, gifts and prizes, music, a catered menu, and lots of fun! Mothers receive infant necessities and, depending on donations, may also receive a car seat, stroller or other infant essential. The diaper pantry is one of our newer services, created because so many mothers requested diapers when visiting our food pantries. Established in 2017, the “Mommy Diaper Pantry” has grown exponentially.
YOUTH SAFETY & SECURITY
We know that service-learning correlates highly with academic success, but that’s not why Joi’s Angel’s offers sanctuary and civic engagement opportunities to teens and young adults. In the inner-city, it's deeper than that. There is a broad and recently growing corpus of literature on the physical and mental health effects of economic inequality, poverty, and neighborhood deprivation. Consider this:
Youth from low-income families are more likely than youth from middle- and high-income families to have sex before age 16, become a member of a gang, attack someone or get into a fight, steal something worth more than 50 dollars, and even run away. However, youth from low-income families are not more likely than youth from middle- and high-income families to use alcohol and marijuana, sell illegal drugs, or destroy property.
Nearly a third of youth from low-income families fail to earn high school diplomas, approximately three times greater than the percentage of youth from middle-income families and roughly six times greater than the percentage of youth from high-income families.
Only one in ten youth from low-income families (10 percent) go on to graduate from a four-year college, compared with over a quarter (28 percent) of youth from middle-income families and half (50 percent) of youth from high-income families.
Joi’s Angels offers afterschool, weekend and summer volunteer opportunities to the children of any parent who asks. Our goal with these students, as with those participating in the Summer Work Employment Program (SWEP), is to build confidence and character, improve interview skills, and to provide a safe, constructive, “real-world” working experience. Between ten and fifteen high school and college students participate in SWEP each year.
All of our student volunteers or SWEP participants have access to our pantries, should their family circumstances require.
 United States Department of Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. ASPE Research Brief: Vulnerable Youth and the Transition to Adulthood. July 2009.