Synergy: the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

I love this word because it contains magic and possibilities. The definition of synergy makes problems not seem as insurmountable. Each of us is aware to some extent of the issues around us. We take a moment to weigh our abilities and strengths against the problem, and then become overwhelmed when the two are terribly off-balance. Issues such as homelessness are paralyzing. Even though the problem is summed up in one easy word, homelessness, the roots of the problem run deep and sprawl out so vastly that it becomes a weed seemingly impossible to destroy. Homelessness encompasses the tribulations of an individual, but even more significant, it involves many of the issues in our current society. 

It’s overwhelming. Not one of us has the means to change all that homelessness encompasses. But synergy- the word gives me hope. Because I don’t need to change it all, I only need to be a part of the solution, and that is where the magic happens. It’s not just what I do, or another person does, it’s the energy that grows because of the efforts of each one of us. 

A few weeks into our journey to help our Street Friends, Dorri and I met Ramona Collins and her daughter, Dawn Elmore, a mother and daughter team that refuses to see the problem as impossible. Their dreams are big, far more extensive than just being the narrator of stories; their goals are to change the endings and make brighter beginnings possible.

Dawn, owner of Elmore Enterprise and CEO of New Dawn Outreach (NDO), and her mother, Ramona began their journey by purchasing Akel’s Delicatessen (315 W. Forsyth Street, Jacksonville, FL) on January 2, 2019, and renamed it New Dawn Deli. Dawn purchased New Dawn Deli for the sole purpose of taking 100% of the revenue and putting it into NDO. Business has been quite challenging, and they are struggling. If they could secure a couple of office catering orders a week, it would make all the difference.Again, all revenue, less operating expenses, will go back into NDO. They highly appreciate any help spreading the word about their business and their mission.

What makes NDO so unique? New Dawn isn’t just about feeding the hungry. Dawn and Ramona are using synergy to make impossible things possible. They are spreading hope with knowledgeable and trustworthy hands by enlisting people to do the parts of their job that they cannot do alone, and they are also combining their efforts with organizations such as Save 2 Serve. In addition, NDO has established a relationship with Community Health Outreach, and they now have access to free medical care. Because of this, they are directly sponsoring people and getting them in to see nurses, doctors, and even specialists. They plan to have dental care provided as a part of phase two.

Beginning January 11, 2020, NDO plans to have an event on the 2ndSaturday of each month. New Dawn will be doing a “wellness/ health” event for January. They hope to have the health department onsite for Hepatitis A shots, haircuts, blood pressure checks, nail painting, and more. For the nail painting event, they need nail polish, nail files, polish remover, and baby wipes for cleaning.

They are currently open to see ‘clients” on Saturdays between 12-4 pm. They hope to expand the hours and need volunteers to assist with intake interviews, resume building, job research, more.If you want to be a part of their mission, please reach out to them at New Dawn Outreach.

Dawn and Ramona, with the help of others, will prepare our Street Friends for the interview process and help them have the skills needed to maintain employment. For their classroom to be useful, they are looking for the following items: two long classroom style tables, chairs, notebooks, pens, pencils, 3-ring binders, folders, loose notebook paper, dry erase markers/eraser, highlighters, and post-it notes.

To make their vision become a reality, Dawn and Ramona also need help building their Dress for Success closet. They are in need of dress-clothes and shoes in all men’s and women’s sizes. They also need hangers and clothes racks.

Dawn and Ramona will open New Dawn’s doors Christmas day from 3-5 pm. At this time, our Street Friends can come in off the streets to enjoy the glow of a Christmas tree, some cookies, hot cider, and coffee. Dorri and I hope that Dawn and Ramona’s mission will be blessed, and many people will find the wonderment in the act of giving and the power of what we can do together.