JJ’s House brings community together for Thanksgiving meal

The+volunteers+delivered+hot+meals+and+food+baskets%2C+packed+with+all+the+necessary+fixes+to+create+a+Thanksgiving+meal%2C+such+as+stuffing%2C+cranberries+and+boxed+mashed+potatoes.

Anelle Scott

The volunteers delivered hot meals and food baskets, packed with all the necessary fixes to create a Thanksgiving meal, such as stuffing, cranberries and boxed mashed potatoes.

Anelle Scott, Contributor

On Nov. 20 between Mack Ave and Cadillac Blvd, JJ’s House, a 501c3 organization in Detroit, brought volunteers together to provide a Thanksgiving meal for the Detroit community.

Courtney and Jason Faraday founded  JJ’s House in an effort to contribute to the community. The Faraday’s have re-constructed their house to offer pregnant women and young moms a place to live, offering them everything they need to live independently — the goal of the organization is to provide resources, according to Courtney Faraday. 

During the Thanksgiving event, the roads were packed with cars — including an assembly line of volunteers providing food to every vehicle that lined the street. The volunteers delivered hot meals and food baskets, packed with all the necessary fixes to create a Thanksgiving meal, such as stuffing, cranberries and boxed mashed potatoes. The event was over within hours — and over 300 meals were given out.

JJ’s House volunteer Nate Garland, who has been part of the food drive for the last three years, explained why he loves this opportunity saying, “It’s great being a part of this event. Like today, I was talking to people, figuring out what was going on in people’s lives, a lot of the issues are the same, such as health and financing. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, health is always an issue. So it’s nice to come down, bring some joy and hopefully make someone’s day.”

Due to the city restriction related to COVID-19, JJ’s House implemented a car food drive. As a result, the more traditional Thanksgiving event they have been running for the last seven years has changed.

“Before, we had tents and tables where everybody came and we had a sit-down meal, the community could come together, meet, talk and get to know everybody. It was a time of fellowship,” said Courtney Faraday, a co-founder of the organization.

The founders of JJ’s House also own a profitable construction company that feeds money into their non-profit organization. JJ’s House renovates old homes and buildings in the Detroit area — rebuilding the community in any way possible.

“The construction company primarily works in Detroit and hopes to revive the neighborhoods by taking abandoned or run-down houses, beautifying them and bringing the neighborhoods back,” said JJ’s House Construction Consultant, Anna Opel. “We also worked on an abandoned church and transformed it into a coffee shop called The Congregation. We did everything —  it brought life into the whole community. Mayor Duggan came in on opening day and committed to re-doing the park across the street, which he did.”

Courtney and Jason Faraday, and all involved in the organization, provide year-long volunteer opportunities. For example, Oakland University students would have the opportunities to help rebuild the Detroit communities.

“There are always opportunities to volunteer,” Courtney Faraday said. “We have a Christmas event that includes a toy drive, summer events where we have a live band and pass out backpacks, and we have our movie events where kids from kindergarten to high school come to hang out for the night. In addition, volunteers help facilitate games and tutoring programs.”

Jason Faraday also mentions that consistency is a vital aspect of running this kind of an organization. Being able to have events at the same time every year is essential so people know they can depend on their organization.

 “It’s just cool to be a part of,” he said.”The biggest thing is just being a part of what so many other people in the community have been doing.”