PHOENIX — The roots of the Joy Bus Diner stretch back nearly a decade.
Owner Jennifer Caraway said the restaurant is named after her friend, Joy, who was fighting ovarian cancer back in 2011.
“I started bringing her food and just stoke her out with rad little treats. It was the only thing I knew how to do to make her happy,” said Caraway.
It was from that experience that blossomed the idea to help more people like Joy.
“What we do is provide chef-inspired meals to home-bound cancer patients coupled with an amazing volunteer who's extremely compassionate and cares and just wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” she said.
Carol Pattrone-Welch is one of those volunteers.
“To be able to go and just provide some friendship for them, a face other than a physician or a nurse, because so many are home-bound,” said Pattrone-Welch.
Jennifer opened the doors to Joy Bus Diner in 2016 to help fund the delivery program.
“In the diner it's more of comfort happy food, like biscuits and gravy. Our Reuben is absolutely amazing,” she said. “So I would say our most popular item in house is the biscuit and chicken sandwich."
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to temporarily close the diner to the public, but she continues to provide food to cancer patients.
Every Wednesday, she and volunteers put together organic meals for almost 50 patients on their list.
Due to social distancing guidelines, how they deliver them has changed.
“They have to drop the bag, sanitize the handle once again, go back to the car and call the patient to pick up the bag. We can have zero interaction with the patient during this process,”
All while trying to let their customers know that a friend is still out there.
“A lot of our volunteers who are just incredible people do still from afar talk to them,” ‘she said. ‘“Do you need anything? Is there anything we can do for you?’”, she said.
Right now, their operations are entirely dependent on donations, either monetary donations or food donations.
And Jennifer’s determination is more clear now than ever before.
“It's extremely important to keep this going. I mean, we've been doing this for almost nine years there are people who depend on us to show up at their home every week with wrapped food and humans to help make this happen this is our mission,” she said.
Donations to Joy Bus Diner can be made through their website, www.thejoybusdiner.com/donations.
IF YOU GO:
Joy Bus Diner (restaurant temporarily closed, but accepting donations for meal-delivery program)
3375 E. Shea Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85028
We're Open, Arizona: We know this is a tough time for a lot of people in our community, including local restaurants and businesses. As local spots continue to serve takeout, look for ways to safely do business, and give back to our community, we want to share their stories. Visit abc15.com/open or email us at OpenInAZ@abc15.com.