Since its inception in 2011, the Joy Bus, a local nonprofit organization, has distributed more than 1,600 meals to Valley cancer patients. However, even with 12 rotating volunteers, there still are not enough people to deliver all the requested meals.
"It has been a difficult three and a half years," writes founder Jennifer Caraway in an e-mail. "I am unsure how other nonprofits do it, but there seems to be a lot of begging involved."
See also: Best Food for a Good Cause - The Joy Bus
Carraway says the organization is always looking for donations for everything from food products and containers to kitchen space and funding. The organization also is looking for more volunteer drivers to help deliver meals.
"I have worked full time to keep it going, and we rely heavily on our amazing volunteers!" Carraway writes.
According to Carraway, the Joy Bus isn't your run-of-the-mill food delivery service.
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The concept for the Joy Bus came to Carraway during hospital visits to her friend Joy, who suffered declining health due to cancer. Carraway realized then that not all cancer-stricken patients have a strong network of support. For those patients, the road to recovery can be very rough. It can also be very lonely. She built the Joy Bus in an effort to alleviate some of the stress of that journey.
Next month, the Joy Bus will be honored as one the nation's 100 most influential volunteer groups serving the cancer community. The award will be presented at the One Hundred Gala held in Boston, hosted by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
With hand-designed sack lunches, a cheerful crew, and chef-inspired meals, the Joy Bus is determined to keep chugging along. For those interested in volunteering or looking for more information about the nonprofit organization, visit the Joy Bus website.