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An interview with Jo Moody on giving Water in the Desert

by Shar Aslaksen

What led you to want to serve the homeless?


Jo: I have been poor most of my life and even as a child, I felt deep compassion for and connection to those who were not as well off as I was. I have a college degree, family and friends, and I speak English which helped me from being on the streets myself. But I was always aware of the suffering of others. About five years ago I started putting a cooler with water in it outside my house. This simple act was uplifting to me. Seeing homeless people out on the streets I soon realized I could use my car to take the cooler out to the homeless on the streets. I came to see that the water was not enough, so I started putting in granola bars too. As the financial aspect became too much for me to do alone, friends began to help by buying water and supplies. Then one day, my church, St. Francis in the Foothills, asked me to oversee an Outreach Ministry - Water in the Desert - to help the homeless and expand on what I was already doing. It helps me fulfill my own need to do something helpful for others.


What keeps you going?


Jo: Compulsion, compassion addiction. I can not see suffering without feeling I need to do something helpful. I strive to make others lives a little easier if I can. My lifelong political awareness of societal forces that force people into poverty drives me to want to help right injustices without judgment. Some days it is physically hard for me to go out, but my desire to help drives me get out there and it spiritually uplifts me.


What is your hope for the Water in the Desert Ministry here at Saint Francis?


Jo: I would love for more people to be aware of the struggle the homeless experience and through that awareness, be moved to help alleviate that suffering in whatever way they feel comfortable. So many people don't realize the challenges the homeless face. They are in a class of the invisible - hardly seen, rarely called by their names. I really strive to acknowledge them as fellow human beings and neighbors. Homeless people struggle with feelings of worthlessness that are put upon them by our society. Getting health care, getting food, the weather, being attacked verbally and physically are just a small part of what they face on a daily basis.




Jo Moody


Water in the Desert is such a rewarding ministry. Handing out the water and supply bags, you should see the reactions we get. Many are moved to tears.


What do you need for the Water in the desert Ministry both personally and from the Saint Francis Community?


Jo: I really need co-leadership to take on some of the tasks that would help make Water in the Desert even more productive. Some days, my health isn't all that great, and if someone would help with shopping for supplies, reporting where they have seen homeless and homeless encampments as well as coordinating with other groups who are serving the homeless to collaborate with Water in the Desert. We need donations of supplies, and drivers to take volunteers and supply bags around to hand out. SUV's are particularly useful for doing this. Just anything anyone wants to do. As I said, this is an amazing ministry. It shows that we don't need to be afraid to interact with these people, and that there are positive things that can be done to help them. And they are so grateful. It makes you feel so good to do it.


If you are interested in learning more, or helping Water in the Desert, please contact Jo at (520) 370-8472 BEFORE 8:00 pm please, or email

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