Organization Brings “Joy” To People In Need
The event is expected to serve more than 300 people in 5 different locations.
FARGO, N.D.- “My goal someday is to go to bed on Christmas Eve Night and know that everybody in Fargo-Moorhead had a good meal and got a gift.”
This is what motivated Marisa Bengston Loerzel to start the Joy Project in 2013.
“Our goal is to serve people who are homeless, who are struggling with homelessness or just need some Christmas joy. We bring out meals and we bring out gifts to everybody. And we just celebrate with people. We have a fun night with them,” she says.
She says they get overlooked because many don’t fit the narrative.
“We have a lot of people in need. I think we forget about them, because we don’t see them. They’re in shelters, and in hotels, and you know not visible. To get out and meet these people and to help them out is really important,” she adds.
This is the only present a lot of them receive during the Christmas time.
“We have gifts for most of the people that we serve tonight. A lot of people this is the only gift that they’re going to get, so we try to make it special for them. We’ve spent the last few weeks tying blankets. We’ve tied over probably 150 tied blankets. And we’ve had some other gifts like gloves, mittens and hats. We bagged up and we’re sending out tonight. And we serve a lot of kids at different locations, So Santa, he’s probably getting ready right now with gifts and stockings for all of those kids too,” Bengston says.
Dawn Fischer has been a volunteer with the Joy Project for the last two years.
“If you’re able to and have the time and the abilities to give back, there’s a need. There’s a great need in the community and I think it’s the best thing that you can do,” she says.
She decided to volunteer at Stepping Stone Resource Center because it hits close to home.
“I have been involved and recently adopted a young lady out of the Foster system. And just to be able to give back to youth that maybe don’t have a place to go,” she adds.