PHOENIX — A Phoenix restaurant forced to close its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic is finding a way to operate in an extraordinary way by providing meals for people battling cancer.
The owner has a personal connection tied to her mission.
“It’s amazing,” said Jennifer Caraway, founder and executive director of The Joy Bus. “It’s a dream come true.”
Caraway had an idea to start The Joy Bus more than a decade ago, when her friend Joy was fighting ovarian cancer.
“I just started making little treats for her to stop by and tell her how much I cared about her,” she said.
From there the idea grew, and Caraway decided to help others going through the same thing.
“It’s beautiful organic food, served within an hour of when it’s made, by a very compassionate awesome volunteer,” said Caraway.
The meals go to home-bound cancer patients like Kim and Kathy Suszczewicz. Kim was diagnosed with acute lymphatic lymphoma six years ago.
“The Joy Bus is more than a meal and they have been very generous with us,” he said.
Then last December, Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“They have become such an important part of our community, our really close community,” she said. “We’re just very grateful.”
In 2016, Caraway expanded even more, opening up The Joy Bus Diner, to help support the delivery program.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, Caraway had to temporarily close.
“We have a very empty diner right now, which is heartbreaking,” said Caraway.
But thanks to ongoing donations, the meals for cancer patients have been able to continue.
“We have customers who have come in, who are now lifelong volunteers, because it’s just so magical,” she said.
Now more than 60 patients receive free weekly meals.
“They can see how much that their neighbor cares and loves for them and that there is real good in humanity,” she said.
For more information about The Joy Bus, go to: https://www.thejoybusdiner.com/.