Project Joy Northland: The Rise Collection
By Anna Bailey
After the impact Covid has had on fundraising for many non-profits over the last three years, we are excited to give our Bailey Builds Friends the opportunity to support Project Joy, an amazing organization whose mission it is to end hunger in the Twin Ports region.
When you purchase one of our Project Joy Limited Edition pieces, we will donate every penny of your purchase to this truly life supporting organization.
It takes a village when it comes to fighting hunger, and we want to be a part of the solution to end hunger here in our community and beyond.
Project Joy was started in 2012, in memory of Laura Plys’s husband from Duluth MN, to further accomplish what her husband Patrick was passionate about. Patrick was a man who responded to the needs he saw around him. He helped build a school in Africa, worked with the local Boys and Girls Club, and truly had a heart for the needs of his community. As a food broker, Pat was aware that hunger was a real issue, and so it made sense to honor him with a non-profit that focused on this need.
Within the year of his passing, Project Joy had their first fundraiser, with the assistance of her husband’s fellow curling team. Following in his footsteps, their son Chris is an Olympic curler and will be competing at the Olympics in Beijing. Chris uses his platform to raise money for Project Joy, and the mission to end hunger in our communities. Many professional curlers have come together in support of Project Joy’s mission to end hunger, through their House of Hearts annual celebrity curling bonspiel.
For the first eight years of Project Joy, they used their resources to assist a region-wide backpack program that provided weekend food items to school-age children in need.
The mission of Project Joy has always been “Choosing Joy, Spreading Hope, Ending Hunger.”
They have been driven to raise money and awareness to childhood hunger in our community. Over the last couple of years, their organization has shifted to work directly with the community, providing resources to schools, local sheriffs departments, community organizations that work with families and youth, and community members who come face to face with hunger and see the needs that many people are unaware of.
Project Joy is able to use their resources to provide grants and grocery food money that can be given directly to families in need. When people give to Project Joy, 100% of their donations go directly to fund the hunger needs of our communities.
When we think of childhood hunger, we think of 3rd world countries or poor rural areas. The reality is that food insecurity is a very prevalent issue that is present in every community, and it affects many children. Hunger inhibits the ability for a child to grow, learn, and thrive.
For example, Laura shared a story of a young kindergarten boy hiding under the table at school on a Monday morning. As the school nurse consoled him, she found out that he was hungry because his last real meal was the Friday before at school.
It is both heartbreaking and humbling to hear the stories and circumstances that face many families. Laura recalls a single mother reaching out and sharing that she worked so hard to provide for her family, but it didn’t always stretch to the cupboards. She would worry about snow days and how her children would not be provided school lunch. She would often hope that her kids would be invited to slumber parties on the weekend, assured that they would be fed well.
It is stories like these that fuel the passion to put an end to childhood hunger.
Project Joy hopes to expand their reach by partnering with area colleges that have identified food insecurities amongst its students. This age group can often be faced with the challenge of making ends meet, and food becomes the compromise. Project Joy hopes to help meet the needs of this overlooked population.
We are so thankful for all of you who have followed and supported Bailey Builds throughout the years. Supporting this cause is a win/win, and we hope you’ll consider helping us support Project Joy, aiding in the fight against childhood hunger, through your purchase of one of our Limited Edition Project Joy pieces.
Thanks for showing up! It takes a village!