ugg kids Joshua’s Storehouse
Jay Martin is the CEO of Joshua’s Storehouse and has been for almost 10 years. Before that, he was a fundraiser for the nonprofit agency. He has been in Casper for 40 years 17 as a teacher at Natrona County High School, then after retirement, he went into a mortgage brokerage business, and then worked with the American Red Cross and Special Olympics Wyoming. “Then I settled here and found a home,” he said of Joshua’s.
What is Joshua’s Storehouse? We are a volunteer food pantry with one paid staff, I guess you could say; I work on a stipend. We supply food to people in the city of Casper and Natrona County. We verify their existence through a driver’s license and Social Security card, and then we give them as much food as they need for as long as they need it. We give away food for balanced meals. We don’t consider a package of crackers as a meal here.
Tell us about the numbers you served in 2015. (As of Tuesday) we have served 1,135 first timers, 10,661 children, 23,677 adults, for a total of 34,338 persons served through the door. Those people make up 8,001 households. During the year, we have given away 742,435 pounds of food.
How do you get your food and money? A good portion comes from food drives the students at our high schools and elementary schools are just phenomenal. Volunteers come in off the street and say, here it is, we get 25,000 or 30,000 pounds that way. We buy a great deal from Food Bank of the Rockies, and they donate a bunch to us. An awful lot of our produce comes to us from them. We give produce and other perishables out once a week, and the people come and get what they need. Pizza Hut is under contract with us, we get 400 or 500 pounds of pizza a month. Little Caesars give us 15 to 20 pizzas a day and we freeze them. We buy a lot from groceries here one sells to us at their cost with no shipping added. Don’t call me cheap, but I take the most congenial prices I can get. It takes a lot of money to run this organization as far as food goes. We also take a lot of groceries from people leaving town as long as it’s sealed and the date is good. Kids in Distressed Situations. We were recommended by the Wyoming Department of Family Services. Anybody Title I or free or reduced lunches qualifies. We get goods from national manufacturers and distribute it all. It started with pillow pets odd little creatures but we gave them away. We have received over $500,000 worth of goods for a cost to us of $5,000. We’ve had Sketchers shoes and Ugg boots and shoes. We added Head Start and Early Head Start for the Gymboree stuff we get. We get $40 to $50,000 a year in clothing and we get it free. Recently, we’ve had almost $300,000 worth of Eddie Bauer high quality coats and vests and those were for the older kids, like junior high.
How can people help? We need some volunteer time, need a volunteer driver. Their cash really helps us out more than anything. The McMurrys and Subaru have been very generous. Our future doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to our children. We believe in taking care of children and they in turn will take care of us. We say service to the Lord through service to the community in everything we do.