It was just another day at the Orlando Community Release Center until a minivan driven by Al Hoover pulled into the parking lot carrying 118 pounds of turkey with all the trimmings. Everything that was needed to provide a
delicious Christmas meal for the 84 women who call the Center home.
The meal, prepared and served by the staff of the Center, was the capstone of two days of Christmas blessings provided by Just As You Are Ministries and many volunteers from Journey Christian Church in Apopka.
The previous night, two 14 passenger vans and three SUV’s transported 48 of the inmates to the candle light service at Journey Christian Church. Later that evening Al returned with his wife, Sue, and delivered 84 Christmas stockings stuffed to the rim with cookies, candies and various gifts that would brighten the eyes of any women.
When asked why they do this, Sue Hoover replied, “If we didn’t do this for these ladies, Christmas would be just like any other day. The Christmas meal would be the typical mystery meat and a day that should be filled with joy and Jesus would just blend into the day before and the day after. Nobody should have to spend Christmas that way”.
Needless to say, there was no lack of joy in a place that sees little of it this time of year.
Just As You Are Ministries (JAYA), is a non profit 501(c)3 organization that serves the female prisoners at the Florida Department of Correction's Orlando Community Release Center. JAYA also provides transitional housing for those women who wish to stay in the Orange county area after their release. The founders of the ministry, Al and Sue Hoover, attend Journey Christian Church in Apopka.
For more information about JAYA use this link: Just As You Are Ministries
Contributed by: Chuck Gipson