To The Reader's Forum:
After 50 years of helping those in need, Joint Neighborhood Project will close its doors on Friday. The decision to end the current programming was a difficult one, but the only one that made sense in a time of financial uncertainty. Jamestown is rich in human service agencies and the services offered through JNP will be provided by others.
Joint Neighborhood Project was truly a "neighborhood" project and received support, whether in money or manpower, from so many sources in Jamestown and the surrounding communities. JNP was started by five local churches that were housed in the Second Street area. Thank you to Immanuel Lutheran Church, First Lutheran Church, and First Presbyterian Church who continued to provide generous support. In November 2005, when I became the Executive Director of JNP, I was amazed at the generosity of the community. From providing turkeys at Thanksgiving, toys for children at Christmas, food for the pantry, sneakers for the summer campers, clothes for our Nearly New Store, or backpacks and school supplies, the community has always stepped forward. When I retired in March 2011, I was still being amazed! Thank you for your support.
Receiving grant money from a foundation to run a program is a privilege, not an entitlement. Thank you to the foundations who have so generously given when asked. JNP has been assisted by many of the local foundations some of which include the Sheldon, Gebbie, Hultquist, Carnahan-Jackson, Darrah, Holmberg and Johnson foundations. A special thank you to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation who, along with United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, gave the initial seed money for the Hispanic Service Navigator Program.
Joint Neighborhood Project became a United Way agency in 1981. The annual allocation from United Way has played a major role in our programming and they have been and continue to be, very supportive. Thank you to United Way for working quietly and quickly behind the scenes to insure our families will continue to receive the help they need.
Wegmans and Tops - thank you for your consistent donations of fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and bread products. Your contributions have helped so many families and helped us provide a variety of foods.
Numerous businesses, organizations, other agencies, and many individuals have collaborated with JNP throughout the years to help provide a vast array of services. Your support has been invaluable!
Many of the people who we have known throughout our history have called or written during this month to express their appreciation for the help they received through JNP. It has been heartwarming to hear their expressions of gratitude!
And a special thank you to the staff. You continued to work each day, with a smile, knowing you will soon face unemployment. Your primary concern is for the people we serve each day.
As we turn off the lights and lock the door for the final time, our hearts are filled with gratitude and appreciation for the ability to fulfill our mission of helping people for today and providing hope for a better tomorrow.
Interim Executive Director and Board of Directors Joint Neighborhood Project