Joanne Landry is on a mission of compassion.
Landry is the lead pastor at the Interfaith Bible Center and the Compassion Services Center located in the International District. She, her family and members of the staff were able to open a day shelter at the church last summer. The little spot on Trumbull SE provides around 700 meals each week, provide showers where folks can clean up and have a little respite from the streets.
In order to expand the church’s outreach, in November, a “Warming Station” opened to provide overnight shelter for up to 25 people. It also provides gloves, blankets, and as many of the other essential items needed for survival in the cold on the streets.
According to Joanne’s son Jerry, the church’s long-term goals are to help the people that feel so defeated, to thrive and move forward. Also to help them make better decisions with their lives, and to restore faith in humanity and in themselves. We want to give the people the necessary training and skills to pursue careers and help them get out of poverty.
But they can’t do it alone.Landry and her team have had help from the city of Albuquerque with a six unit showering station and some money to help sustain the warming station through the winter and to provide for a professional security guard to be on hand. Landry said there is an increase in homelessness therefore an incredible need right now for these types of places as more of our unhoused neighbors are at risk.
We chatted with Joanne Landry and tossed a handful of questions to her and here is what she had to say.
The Paper.: What is something people believe about homelessness that is not correct?
Pastor Joanne Landry: Society doesn’t see or know how talented many of the homeless are. They don’t understand that there are many reasons why people become homeless. Sometimes trauma, broken relationships, loss of apt due to long hospital stays, addictions, and many other reasons. If we dare to invest in them and a;llow them to participate for example here at compassion Center they will put their full effort to be apart and take pride in their contribution.
Why do you do this hard work?
When I met the homeless that were living at Phil Chacon Park I knew our small church with a huge heart needed to do something more than pass them several meals a week. They needed a day center to do their hair and make up, showers, and then when it got really cold at night a night shelter. The Coalition 6 and Neighborhood Associations, along with Counselor Pat Davis and Bernalillo County helped me get a building and put utilities on our empty parking lot. Together we made the Compassion Center come alive.
Is there a particular touching interaction you have had with one of our homeless neighbors that you can share with us?
I met a woman who was living in a shed. It was behind a drug house . She was grieving over her son’s death.
With our support she was able to return to work and get an apt. We have seen many individuals find purpose and go forward. all they needed was love, prayer, and encouragement.
You seem to be doing What Jesus Would Do. What can others do to help this mission?
Jesus said to love him first, then to love our neighbors. Who are our neighbors? They live in mansions, apts, alleys and parks. Everyone can reach out by showing compassion. Helping those of us who are helping hundreds weekly. Either financially or bringing blankets and other warm clothing. Right now there are so many coming to us, we need to help more. Our cots are ripping because they are old. We think bed bunks could be our next step. We are asking folks to donate used or new bunk beds to help save lives this winter.
Anything else you would like folks to know?
Everyone is welcome to donate their time to come to know these amazing homeless folks. The face of homelessness isn’t just a basket filled with belongings with a man or woman holding up a sign asking for donations. We serve senior citizens, children, pets, along with other men and women with a variety of ethnicities. We welcome all. Let’s all get involved and be a difference maker.
Be A Helper
For more information and to make compassion come alive donate or some bucks for rising utilities, some bunk beds, paper products, coffee, sugar, creamer, packaged snacks, disinfectant cleaning supplies, socks, gloves, hats, blankets, coats along with so much else that is needed and check them out here – https://www.compassionservicesabq.org or https://www.facebook.com/IFBCCSC or drop by and give a helping hand in person at 7501 Trumbull Ave SE 87108 or call Landry at 505-604-6761