With four children and 10 grandkids there are plenty of mouths to feed at Jim and Joy’s Morisset, NSW, home at Christmas, but this year, just like many others, the couple will once again prepare a feast for even more people.
Some guests will be recovering addicts or alcoholics. Others may be battling mental health issues or just be down on their luck and unable to afford a traditional Christmas feast.
Too many of their guests will never have experienced the joy of a loving family Christmas.
“I want them to feel loved and accepted,” says Joy.
“To not only tell them, but to show them in a practical way. It becomes so much more than just a meal at Christmas. I love Christmas because everyone is so generous, peaceful and loving.”
Jim, 79, and Joy, 73, have been married for 47 years, and throughout those decades they have selflessly devoted themselves to helping Australians battling addictions, facing serious criminal charges or just plain doing it tough financially and emotionally.
“We’re out there looking for someone to help every day,” says Jim. “I drove around for years with sleeping bags in the boot
of my car. I’d go around parks at night looking to give them to someone.”
Jim and Joy have seen the worst and the best of humanity as they strived to help others turn their lives around, lending
a helping hand or a sympathetic ear gives them great joy.
The couple helped counsel and support hundreds of men at Miracle Haven, the Salvation Army‘s drug, alcohol and gambling rehabilitation centre at Morisset, before it closed its doors in 2013.
“We used to go out to Miracle Haven and serve the men Christmas dinners, then we started hosting in our home,” explains Joy, who says they have always shared their Christmas with “homeless people, lonely people and recovering drug addicts and alcoholics”.
“We set up enough tables for 30 to 40 people, and we’re never really sure how many will be here for Christmas dinner. If they’ve got nowhere to go for Christmas, then they come here. The door is always open.”
Joy says sharing the love with strangers fills their hearts with joy.
“You wouldn’t believe the number of people we’ve had over the years who tell us it’s their first ever Christmas dinner with a family. We gave one 50-year-old man a Christmas card and he said it was the first one he’d ever received.”
To donate to The Salvation Army‘s Christmas Appeal, or if you need support from the Salvos, go to salvationarmy.org.au or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).