By BRENNA GRITEMAN

LIFE EDITOR

City Mission of Findlay is on the hunt for a new executive director.

Incoming board president Jim Barger confirmed Monday that the board of trustees has formally accepted Joy Barger’s (no relation) resignation, effective Friday.

Amid deepening financial woes and a tense community conversation about the operation of the homeless shelter, Jim Barger says Joy Barger’s departure is not related to the current turmoil, but merely comes at a time that the agency is prominent in the public eye.

“The demand of the position and the demands of home were just becoming too much for her, which I understand,” Jim Barger said.

Indeed, Joy Barger says she began the conversation about her resignation with the board in August, and they mutually agreed to postpone her departure until the end of the year.

On Nov. 28, Joy approached City Council on behalf of the Mission to ask the city for a donation of $50,000 toward emergency shelter services. At that meeting, she stated that City Mission, which provides emergency help to homeless and hungry people, is scrambling to overcome a $300,000 operating deficit projected for 2019.

That news story sparked a series of heated letters to the editor regarding the Mission’s funding, leadership and organization as a faith-based charity. While noting that the timing of her departure is unfortunate, Joy said the reality of the situation is that she has five children at home, ranging in age from 4 to 18, and that her resignation has been in the works for several months.

“I’m excited for the Mission that they can get someone who can really dig in and give 150 percent,” Joy said Monday. “I can’t do that without sacrificing my family.”

Joy has worked for City Mission for just short of nine years, having become interim executive director in August 2017. She took on the role of executive director in March of this year.

She says it’s important that she “stay connected” to the Mission, noting that she has already committed to volunteering one day a week in the kitchen. She also plans to teach classes in the education center.

“I have truly loved every moment that I’ve spent at the Mission,” she says, adding that as a working mother, it was important to her that her time spent away from home was for a worthy cause, which she believes the Mission is.

“I wish them the very, very best.”

“She has a tremendous passion for the organization,” Jim Barger says. “She has quality experience and is a quality person.”

Jim says the board’s next step is to assemble a search committee for a new director.

While no interim director is expected to be named, Joy says her daily responsibilities are being divvied up among “key individuals.” She suspects that many of those responsibilities will not be reassigned to the incoming director.

City Mission estimates that 20,000 nights of lodging will be provided by the end of calendar year 2018. That nearly doubles the 10,349 nights provided in 2016 and is a steady increase from 18,640 in 2017.

Additionally, Joy reports approximately 60,000 meals will be served during 2018, up from 39,744 in 2017 and 23,626 in 2016.

The City Mission expanded its facility in 2016 from 6,000 square feet to 21,000 square feet. Joy says that while staff anticipated an increase in services, the rate of increase has taken the agency by surprise. She notes that while the agency’s services have increased, its financial resources and staffing capacity have not risen at the same rate.

City Mission projects 730 individuals and 70 families will find shelter at the facility by the end of 2018. These figures are up from 450 individuals and 45 families in 2017, according to Joy.

Griteman: 419-427-8477

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Twitter: @BrennaGriteman

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