Steve Schwartz, Project Manager; Doug Wilburne, 2022 Chair
In 2019, Sheldon Jones was concerned about folks sleeping on the street in downtown Harrisburg. He hatched an idea with some artist friends: make a Christmas album and sell it to help the homeless. Once word got out, the music community rallied around the project that was soon called Joy to the Burg (JTTB) for the benefit of the street outreach work of Christian Churches United (CCU). The first album in 2019 raised enough funds to help CCU open a new women’s winter shelter, and a set a standard for quality music and a diverse array of musical acts across all genres. Sheldon, the musicians, and teams of volunteers partnered with CCU and their street outreach efforts to build on the album in 2020 and 2021, navigating a pandemic in the midst. The results? Over $93,000 raised to support our neighbors facing homelessness in Harrisburg and surrounding communities from 2019-2021. Over 400 people on the street have been provided 6,000+ nights of sleeping in a warm bed with staff support, while 75 people have been assisted to obtain and maintain long-term housing along with other tangible support to folks currently on the street through the work of CCU.
In 2022, the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame joined Joy to the Burg as our music curation partner...leading to 33 artists and songs on our 2022 digital download album. Also in 2022, we expanded Joy to the Burg to include visual artists, with Susquehanna Art Museum (SAM) coming on board as our artwork curation partner. SAM curated a set of 8 greeting cards with 8 designs from area visual artists to further expand our impact.