Wednesday Oct 10 2012
Outreach effort means hot meal for dozens in need
By: Nancy Hagman, Colfax Record Correspondent
Volunteers are with What Would Jesus Do? group
Since 2009, Jerry and Junia Babylon have been organizing a weekly aid group that operates under the name “What Would Jesus Do?” – or simply WWJD. Every Tuesday morning, this band of about a dozen regular volunteers puts on a weekly breakfast and food give-a-way in Colfax for the homeless and others in need of the service. An average 30 to 50 people are helped each week. Jerry Babylon said the Colfax volunteers are part of a Placer County group by the same name that began 15 years ago and is a registered non- profit with 501(c)(3) status. The original group started in Roseville and now has branches in Auburn and Foresthill, as well as Colfax. Thanks to the United Methodist Church, the group now has the Church Street hall to shelter their meal and distribution efforts. WWJD began with a van parked in store parking lots, but this was very difficult in winter months. According to Babylon, “In spite of this we’ve only missed one day in three years.” The group now uses the van to travel to the Placer County Food Bank on Mondays to stock up with needed items for the next day. Besides the hot meal and a sack of food to last 3 to 4 days, also available to those in need is donated clothing, camp supplies – including tarps, tents, heaters and stoves – and similar items that have been received from both businesses and individuals. Babylon started his ministry with the Celebration Community Church in Auburn and became convinced that was not enough. “We need to take the church to the people,” Babylon said. “The people who followed Jesus in his travels were probably the same types as you see in this room.” Linda Ramey is one of the volunteers. “This is a good thing, not only for providing food, but for the unity and communication that goes on,” she said. Roy Robison acts as the group’s liaison with the church. “I did the asking, the pastor, board of directors and congregation has all been very helpful,” Robison said. The recipients do give back. At the end of the meal on Oct. 2, they all went to work taking down the large quantity of boxes stored on the second floor for the church’s four-day rummage sale fundraiser that took place beginning Thursday of that week. Diana Dunham and Steve Campbell became homeless in June and have been camping since then at Bear River Campground, outside of Colfax, and Mineral Bar, near the Iowa Hill bridge on the North Fork American River. They alternate between the two sites because there is a 14-day limit at the campgrounds. At the Oct. 9 WWJD breakfast, Campbell said, “We come on Tuesdays because it gives you a chance to meet people, to realize your problems aren’t the only ones. You meet good people to network with, to get work and find places to stay. Most of all everyone is friendly and non-judgmental.” Babylon said the public can assist the group of individuals who find themselves in need of help by donating non-perishable food, camping gear and clean, wearable clothing. Donations can also be sent by check, made payable to WWJD and mailed to Jerry Babylon, 450 Gladycon Rd. No. 118, Colfax, CA 95713. Many of the individuals are also available for work as caretakers and laborers; contact Babylon at 346-9147 for more information.