In 2011, Joel Edwards left his home country of Jamaica to start a new life in Brooklyn, New York. Eventually, his passion for serving others led him to the non-profit, Beyond Walls, which supports underserved communities in the area. Today, Joel is Operations Director and continues to serve and advocate for these families and individuals.
Through the years, Joel has listened to the various struggles these communities face. Some faced the hard choice of paying rent or buying food and others learned the struggles that come with being unhoused in New York. He explained, “Here if you’re homeless, there’s literally nothing for you to get… I just couldn’t cope with knowing that the need was out there.”
Through their food pantry and partnership with Church World Service, Beyond Walls helps community members access basic necessities food, blankets and toiletries. “The joy that you see on their faces when they receive items. They’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t need to think about buying this for my kids or for that,’” said Joel.
During the cold winter months, CWS Blankets are especially appreciated by the organization. Joel recalls seeing mothers grab extra blankets for their children and other family members to share the warmth. Thanks to these gifts, families no longer need to choose between eating or stocking up on necessities. “These are much needed in the community. Our clients are just so ecstatic. We don’t have enough words to thank you for your generosity,” said Joel.
Joel is taking down barriers and changing the lives of his neighbors who are often forgotten. CWS is proud to support organizations like Beyond Walls and be a part of the movement for change.