To Describe Joe as the human energizer bunny, would be an understatement. Most days, bright and early, you will find Joe at MEND’s Clothing Center drop-off area, helping unload donations, thanking donors, or working at other areas of the building. He is non-stop! Lifting, hauling, hurrying from one assignment to the next, he works like a man making up for lost time. And he has much to be proud of about his life today. But that was not the case just a few years ago.
Joe has been a regular volunteer ever since the day, more than 7 years ago, when he was referred to MEND by a rehabilitation treatment program where he was enrolled. At that point, Joe had hit his bottom. He had lost his family, his home and his job. His addiction had driven him to homelessness. So, here he was, at MEND, hoping to start over.
Reflecting on that time in his life, Joe says: “I owe my new-self to MEND for helping me when I needed someone the most. I’ve been all around LA when I was at my worst, and let me tell you, there is nothing out there like MEND. Nothing.” Joe’s first assignment at MEND was at the Food Bank. And this is where we learned what a hardworking volunteer Joe would turn out to be! It wasn’t uncommon to hear his supervisors calling out “Slow down Joe!”, “Take a break already, Joe!” He just gave his all, 100% every single day with such passion and selflessness.
And yet he had almost nothing. So even while Joe was giving back through his time and labor, MEND was there for him with food, clothing, healthcare, and hugs and friendship. He also received support and care to overcome his circumstances. Joe is no longer homeless. And seven years later, his second home is still MEND.
He shares: “And for all that MEND has done for me, I take my shirt off my back for this place and the staff and volunteers who have become my family.”
We are inspired by Joe every day, and grateful to you, our donor, for making such a real impact in the lives of so many in our community. Thank you