Harvest House looks to alleviate pressure during holidays

Tina Harbuck
Lori Joyner, executive director of the Harvest House of Destin, fills a bag with food for someone in need on Wednesday. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

In the past 30-plus years, the mission of Harvest House hasn’t changed — provide food, clothing and shelter to those who are less fortunate.

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, the Harvest House located on Mountain Drive gave out 87 bags of all-inclusive turkey dinners to those in need in Destin, including 15 veteran families.

And now another holiday is fast approaching, Christmas.

“People in general get lost out there during Christmastime, the holidays are a hard time,” said Lori Joyner, executive director of the non-profit. “People are asking where am I going to put this dollar ... a roof, food, electric, gas. So we’re here to relieve some of that stress from every day life.”

So to help out, Harvest House will be giving away ham dinners at Christmas.

“We will load the families down,” Joyner said.

Children will be out of school for a couple of weeks and Harvest House wants to make sure they are fed, Joyner said.

“That’s a lot of extra food,” she said, to help cover those meals that children would otherwise might get at school.

But Harvest House doesn’t just help out over the holidays.

“We assist people every 30 days, unless we know they are in a situation where they can’t make it 30 days ... because we don’t want anybody going hungry in our community,” Joyner said.

Harvest House was founded by Destin’s Jerry Ogle during the Thanksgiving holidays more than 30 years ago.

During Thanksgiving and Christmas everybody wants to give, but Ogle was concerned with “what happens the rest of the year,” Joyner said.

“We’re so grateful that he listened to his calling and started Harvest House,” Joyner said.

Donations are needed all year round.

As a matter of fact, right before the Thanksgiving holiday the food pantry was so low the House had to do a big buy to restock the shelves.

“We need food all year round. We need donations all year round,” Joyner said.

Monetary donations to Harvest House can be made online at Harvesthousedestin.org.

“Everybody can do something,” Joyner said, whether it’s praying, donating or volunteering. “Follow your heart. We say ... just do it.

“You have to have the heart to give back ... and that’s what our community does,” she added. “They bless us with food for the pantry, donations and money so we can go in and make a difference in peoples lives and relieve some of the stresses of the world.”

If you’re looking to make a donation, the House will be closing Dec. 19 and will not reopen until Jan. 2. So if you’re planning to drop something off at Harvest House, do it before Dec. 19 or else hold it until after the first of the year.

“Because come January, February, we’re empty again,” she said.

Havest House will be teaming up with Just Love Coffee Cafe in Destin for a Christmas Party for the Homeless.

The party will be on Dec. 19 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Cafe located at 985 Hwy. 98E, Suite A in Destin.

There will be free food, giveaways and live music.

Christmas Party for the Homeless