Editors Note: This is a 3 part series focusing on local community programs that serve those who may be hungry in our community. If you know of other programs in the South Georgia area, we’d love to tell their story too. Simply email us at email@example.com and tell us all about them.
Lajuanta Mattox knew she wanted to make a difference in her community. She prayed about it for a long time. She went on a mission trip to Puerto Rico and saw how the people pulled together to help one another. She prayed some more, asking for a way that she could create the same kind of unity in her own community. She wanted to do something that would really touch the lives of the people in Homerville, Georgia where she lived. The result of those prayers was the Jesus and Jams ministry.
Praying to Make A Difference
Lajuanta didn’t want just to serve her community, she wanted to make a difference. She wanted to have an impact that would inspire others and bring the residents of her town together. “ I prayed for two years that I wanted to feed the people. God blessed us with Jesus and Jams. We receive no grants and we operate from donations,” Lajuanta said.
What may seem like a simple mission eventually grew into a weekly endeavor that allows many of Homerville’s residents to pitch in and share the love by handing out a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Jesus and Jams started out as a relatively small outreach and has turned into an ever-growing enterprise that expands far outside the city limits of Homerville. Residents throughout Clinch County are included in the Jesus and Jams routes.
Everyone Comes Together
Every Saturday Lajuanta heads to the Jesus and Jams building and starts preparing for the day. Volunteers have already been in action showing up on Friday night to make the sandwiches that will be delivered the next morning. She said, “Our volunteers vary. We average 15 to 20 every Saturday.” Young and old alike show up to load the Jesus and Jam vans so they can head out and feed the community, one brown paper bag at a time. Every week the group makes over 935 PB & J sandwiches and distributes them throughout Homerville and the rest of Clinch County.
More Than Just A PB&J Sandwich
For the last five and a half years, Lajuanta and the volunteers have made it their mission to feed those in Clinch County that may not have the resources to eat as they should. For many children and adults, it may be the only nutritious meal they get that day. Latrina Bryant is a Homerville resident who has seen how Jesus and Jams has affected her community. She said, “ It is so much more than just a ‘brown bag lunch.’ They are Evangelism by showing love to young and old no matter who it is. They are consistent and the kids know that Jesus and Jams is coming rain or shine.”
Volunteers Are Always Welcome
Jesus and Jams relies on donations to be able to provide the lunches they offer. While they are always willing to accept monetary and grocery donations, one of the best gifts they can receive is your time. Volunteers gather on Friday night to make the sandwiches and prepare the lunches so that when Saturday morning comes, they can load the vans and be on their way.
On Saturday morning, volunteers (some who were on hand the night before) show up to load the vans and prepare for the trips into the community. As Jesus and Jams vans work their way through the neighborhoods, you will see children and adults coming from their homes to get their lunch. What they receive every Saturday morning is so much more than just a lunch. It’s food for the soul that hopefully will inspire everyone who gets a lunch to pay it forward in some way, passing on the Grace of God.