THANKS­GIV­ING MEAL CON­TIN­UES AT USUAL HOME

Lack of city sup­port threat­ened an­nual pre-Thanks­giv­ing meal

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY RICK NATHANSON JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

A donor steps up to help Joy Junc­tion after the city said it would have to pay a rental fee for space to hold its an­nual Thanks­giv­ing din­ner.

Joy Junc­tion founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jeremy Rey­nalds was feel­ing a bit joy­less ear­lier this week when he learned that the city would not do­nate space in the Al­bu­querque Con­ven­tion Cen­ter for the an­nual pre-Thanks­giv­ing Day meal.

The city has do­nated the space for the event for about the last 15 years. Joy Junc­tion sup­plied the tur­keys and a check for about $1,500 to the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter to cover the costs of plates, plas­tic uten­sils, pies, cof­fee and soft drinks.

The an­nual din­ner at­tracts 1,200 or more home­less and hun­gry peo­ple, Rey­nalds said Wed­nes­day.

On Tues­day, he said, SMG, the con­trac­tor that op­er­ates the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, told him the city would not be of­fer­ing the space freely this year, but was will­ing to work with Joy Junc­tion if it wished to pay the $6,000 rental fee.

The good news is that Doug Peter­son of Peter­son Prop­er­ties, has agreed to pay the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter rental fee, Rey­nalds said. Joy Junc­tion

main­tains its cor­po­rate of­fices Down­town in a build­ing owned by Peter­son Prop­er­ties.

Rey­nalds said he was told by Chris Chavez in the city’s Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment that “such a com­mit­ment could pos­si­bly be an ‘en­cum­brance’ upon the next may­oral ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Berry spokes­woman Rhi­an­non Sa­muel, said in an email that the city part­ners with many home­less ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tions. “We wish we could fund the count­less re­quests we re­ceive, but un­for­tu­nately we do not have unlimited re­sources. We are pleased to hear that the pri­vate sec­tor has stepped up to fill this un­for­tu­nate gap that was pre­vi­ously borne by tax­payer dol­lars.”

Rey­nalds said he sus­pects the city’s with­drawal is ret­ri­bu­tion for his be­ing “a vo­cal critic of the Berry ad­min­is­tra­tion for some years,” par­tic­u­larly on issues af­fect­ing the poor and home­less.

Most re­cently, Rey­nalds with­drew Joy Junc­tion’s mem­ber­ship in the Greater Al­bu­querque Cham­ber of Com­merce after it pre­sented him with its Award for Ex­cel­lence in Pub­lic Safety. Rey­nalds called the June pre­sen­ta­tion “an un­timely and in­ap­pro­pri­ate award” dur­ing a time of es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence and crime in the city.

MARLA BROSE/JOUR­NAL

Vol­un­teers serve up pre-Thanks­giv­ing din­ners for needy fam­i­lies at the Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. Joy Junc­tion has spon­sored the meal for years.

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