The non-profit organization prepares and delivers meals to people with cancer

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After closing during the COVID-19 lockdown, The Joy Bus Diner is open again in northeast Phoenix, serving breakfast and lunch and raising money to feed cancer patients.

The pandemic slowed but never stopped the organization from preparing and delivering meals for cancer patients – the reason it was created in 2012 when founder Jennifer Caraway started preparing meals for a friend with ovarian cancer.

Joy Seitz-Butts lost her battle, but Caraway named the group after her friend and now provides about 120 meals a week to other people with cancer.

Meal prepared by The Joy Bus for people with cancer.

At the restaurant, 100% of profits are donated to the non-profit organization that Caraway started. Other funding comes from donations and in-kind support from the community. In 2018, Caraway raised $10,000 and the national profile of Joy Bus when she won an episode of the Food Network chef competition show “Chopped.” The Joy Bus has also collaborated with local chefs to create a cookbook, “More than a Meal, The Joy Bus Community of Chefs”.

The group needs volunteers for events that take place throughout the year. Donations are also needed to rehire staff at the restaurant, Caraway said.

Caraway said she was amazed at how the community came together to support and grow the organization. Volunteers take extra time to make phone calls, hospital visits, and help with home repairs and transportation for participants.

“It brings tears to my eyes every time I witness their humanity and I’m grateful that this is our community,” Caraway said.

“We are incredibly grateful to be able to reopen after 18 months. We are supported by such an amazing community and we wouldn’t be where we are without them.”

Details: The Joy Bus Diner, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. 3375 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix. 602-595-5884, thejoybusdiner.com.

Roxanne De La Rosa covers the nonprofit community. Contact her at rdelarosa@azcentral.com.

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