About Out of a Jam

I created Out of a Jam after seeing women and young adults suffering through life working multiple dead end jobs and barely getting by. I knew that I could teach them how to cook and to manage their lives a little differently so that they might take better care of themselves and their families. I also knew that I could help them get certifications that they could use in the workforce. And I had lots of love to share!

From it’s inception in mid 2016, Out of a Jam has trained and certified hundreds of students, made and sold thousands of jars of delicious gourmet jam and launched the JAMM food truck as an additional training ground where we have served thousands of our signature “jammiches” to a busy community. And we show others how Jesus cares for us all so much.

It’s a big task with a simple formula. Learn to love God and you’ll learn to love others! We fail often...but we’re learning!

With appreciation,

Paula

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Ben's Story

What would you do if you ran into a young person just before he became a sad statistic? Wallet was stolen…so no ID. Kicked out of the house by his stepfather…so no place to live. Borrowed car returned…so no transportation. No transportation…so no job.

Meet Ben…

Like many teenagers today, Ben has bounced around. His biological father is in prison for drug dealings and other seedy activities. His mother remarried a man who has abusive tendencies and wanted nothing more than for Ben to turn 18 so that he could legally ask him to leave and never come back! He couldn’t care less that Ben had no one else in his support system and would eventually become homeless and lost.

Ben just happens to be a very smart kid. Despite a series of bad choices, he has found ways to survive. His plan to finish high school led him to an alternative school that offers self-paced learning and compassionate teacher/coach support. With only 20 hours left to graduate, Ben was expelled for having marijuana in his possession at school. Big mistake for sure but like many kids from broken homes, Ben found “friends and family” in the wrong places. It would only take a few weeks before the “friends” he lived with would kick him out and steal his stuff because he couldn’t financially contribute to the chaotic world that they live in. His only choice would be to participate in illegal or immoral activities…or live on the street.

Ben is a former student of Out of a Jam and he showed up at our door a few days ago. He said he just needed a place to stay for the night, but we knew that he would need much more. He needed a home and a plan. The next morning, we sat down and discussed the challenges that Ben would face going forward and the options he had. Based on his current support system, joblessness, no transportation, and unfinished high school education, his options were few. We knew we could help him, but he had to be willing to change and re-focus. We took him to the Rescue Mission to see if he could live there while he figured out his future. They had lunch at the soup kitchen and met with a counselor. Ben saw men there that had once been strong and alive but had become sad statistics. They were lost, hungry, and hopeless. For the first time, Ben saw his future and realized that his poor choice making had to end.

Out of a Jam's vision is to transform young adults into successful individuals, and we do that by developing culinary, vocational, and life skills through mentoring and compassion. Unlike Ben, most students have some type of support system that keeps them safe until they become self-sufficient. Because we have more than we need or deserve, we feel obligated to share our home as a safe harbor for young people like Ben who need time and resources that they cannot get on their own. So, we get to move the boxes out of our spare bedroom for the next few months and watch Ben exit his downward spiral and start to fly.

How can you help? We can help Ben find a job either at Out of a Jam or elsewhere and provide him with access to a vehicle while he finishes high school. Because we have agreed to keep him accountable and safe, the school has agreed to give him another chance. Ben’s plan will take about 6 months of hard work in school and on the job. We do not have the $10,000 we feel it will take to help with all the things needed to get Ben’s life going but we have a faith in the almighty God who we know can and will move mountains for those who love Him.

Ben is worth it…and so much more.