Joshua’s Place has served over 1200 Student Meal Kits per week for the last ten weeks. These meals were distributed over five school districts, with more than 40 churches hosting a collection site.

Newsletter Headlines
Joshua’s Place Spotlight
2020 Joshua’s Place 5K
Deer Park Food Co-op Launch & Fundraiser
Summer Food Program
2020 Golf Classic
Two local teachers learned the power of personal networking, taking courageous steps outside of your comfort zone, and sharing gratitude. Ryan Ellis and Eric Pujari decided to accept the physical and mental challenge to walk across the state of Ohio from Toledo to Cincinnati to raise money for the ministry of Joshua’s Place. Ryan says, “We chose JP because we had heard about all the amazing things it was providing our community. It was important to us that we supported a local cause, and JP’s values and beliefs lined up directly with ours.”
Ryan and Eric learned many lessons along the way. They were pushed to their limits on some days but, at the same time, realized how much they were capable of accomplishing. Ryan discovered that “most things that take up your mind during the day don’t matter that much.” The journey helped them narrow down their focus on life to what is important. Eric said in one of their Facebook video recordings that the walk changed his view of strangers, and he recognized how he had thrown his perception on others. He learned there are many incredibly generous people and that a lot of people do care about one another.
Ryan says, “Getting to the finish line and having so many people there to support us was truly amazing. I hope that others will make their own attempt to get outside their comfort zone. There is so much to be learned from personal suffering and charity. Doing good for others is an amazing feeling. We’re both very grateful for the opportunity to change our outlook on life. This experience will permanently change the way we view the world and how we interact with others.”
Their initial goal was to raise $6,000 as they walked mile by mile across the state. They quickly learned many people were cheering them on their journey, so they increased their goal to $10,000. By the end of their walk, they had successfully raised over $12,000! With the money raised, Joshua’s Place will be able to provide close to 3,000 meals to local families!
Joshua’s Place 5K began as a dream in the mind of Drews Mitchell several years ago while running in another 5K to support a cause. Drews had a passion for walking/running to support causes and thought, “how neat would it be to bring exposure to Joshua’s Place through a 5K while raising money for the ministry.” He began pursuing the vision of exposure and funding by planning and serving at the first 5K, which raised money for JP Power Pack Program. The Power Pack Program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Through a partnership with the local school districts, Joshua’s Place began helping meet this need by providing children with a backpack full of food every Friday during the school year.
Although there were logistic issues the first year, the 5K was a success and raised more money and awareness than anticipated. Even at the most challenging times of planning and implementing the 5K, Drews says, “knowing that the outcome of the race would be growth and engagement for the ministry was the driving force to keep pressing forward.” Since the first race, Joshua’s Place has extended the ministry to neighboring school districts. As Joshua’s Place has grown, so has the funding for other types of school-based programming. JP not only supports families through Power Packs, but also through Student Meal Kits, Family Packs, the Carryout Program, Whizkids, and the Care Closets Program. These programs of the ministry allow Joshua’s Place an avenue to pour into others, develop relationships with families in the programs, and fight against generational poverty.
Due to the current pandemic, JP is excited to announce the third annual Joshua’s Place 5K will be a virtual event for the whole month of August 2020! By following the registration link below, you can register for the race and receive a t-shirt for the run. You will be able to run your own 5K on your own course anytime in August. Once you complete your 3.2 miles, post your times on our results page. To spur others on, we invite you to post photos, your course, and your time to our Facebook page.
Photography from the 2019 Joshua’s Place 5K
Pastor Jeff Hale says he loves how JP “flips the script” from other services. Instead of being transactional, “Joshua’s Place is all about building relationships and creating an environment that cultivated those relationships. I love seeing people come in for help and finding a loving community full of people who genuinely care about them, not as a case number, but as someone who our God values. Seeing them grow as a person and begin to take the necessary steps to make positive changes in their lives makes all the work worth it.
Since starting Joshua’s Place, Rivers Crossing has seen many lives impacted by the work of the ministry. In a spirit-filled response to God’s calling, Deer Park campus began praying for the right time and opportunity to launch Joshua’s Place in their local community. As the church prayed, excitement grew!
Rivers Crossing Deer Park began joining other Joshua’s Place locations as a distribution center for Student Meal Kits at the start of COVID-19. This action kindled the desire to start Joshua’s Place Deer Park (JPDP). Pastor Jeff Hale says, “We announced in our online Sunday worship service and asked our people, many of them who are extremely passionate about Joshua’s Place, to step up and help us make this ministry a reality. Rivers Crossing offered to match dollar for dollar what came in for this special offering, and we were blown away with the response.” Between donations and Rivers Crossing’s dollar for dollar match, Deer Park was able to raise $56k!
A Joshua’s Place Food Co-op will be Deer Park’s launching ministry seeking to provide other services in the future as the ministry grows in the community. Pastor Jeff Hale says, “the money raised will set us up for those big one-time start-up supplies that will set up the Food Co-Op for success for years to come.” The first steps Deer Park took to provide thousands of Student Meal Kits over the last few months have led to building relationships with families. Now, these families will prospectively be the first families to be part of the Deer Park Food Co-op!
As school districts closed for the summer, Joshua’s Place moved into a new phase of food support—providing primary food assistance to many families. With the Summer Food Assistance Program, families across five school districts can sign-up on our website to pick up meals at one of our six distribution sites. Over 2,500 meals a week are being provided at all locations!
Joshua’s Place is humbled by the response of many churches and local organizations to support surrounding communities. Because of your support, Families come and pick up Student Meal Kits for each of their children. These meal kits include five breakfast items, five lunches, and five snacks. Families also receive a Family Pack, which consists of two dinners, cereal, peanut butter, and jelly.
You can drop off food at Joshua’s Place in South Lebanon on Saturday, July 11th from 9 AM to noon. We are striving to obtain donations to carry us through the summer. Below is an updated list of needed items with a higher need for lunch/dinner items. You can also choose to give a monetary donation by following the “Give Today” link.
Address: 83 N. Section Street | South Lebanon | Ohio | 45065
Joshua’s Place has another great fundraiser scheduled for this fall. On Monday, October 12th, you have the opportunity to participate in the Rivers Crossing Joshua’s Place Golf Classic at TPC Rivers Bend. (This event is presented by Kings Electric & Champlin Architecture.)
Register today using the link below.
For information on becoming a Sponsorship Partner, please reach out to Kevin Peyton, Joshua’s Place Executive Director, at
Looking for a way to get involved with Joshua’s Place? Follow the link to see serving opportunities available!