In 2000, the staff of Prescott United Methodist Church found themselves spending a great deal of time counseling with homeless and low income residents, offering meal vouchers for the local Apple Pan Restaurant, and using a portion of their discretionary funds for gas vouchers. All three ministers felt someone needed to do more.
The PUMC Church and Society Committee was tasked to organize what became the Interfaith Coalition for Compassion and Justice, or ICCJ (now simply CCJ). Several local congregations helped create the organization, including:
Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Sacred Heart Catholic Church Temple B’rith Shalom
Prescott United Methodist Church The Center for Spiritual Living
American Lutheran Church St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
First Baptist Church First Church of the Nazarene
The Christian Science Church Prescott Community Church RCA
Trinity Presbyterian Church People Who Care
Open Door (then a program of PUMC)
Papers of incorporation were officially filed on November 1, 2001. The first program of ICCJ was Home Repair, an outgrowth of needs seen by Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Home Repair volunteers provided health and safety home repairs to low-income homeowners. ICCJ’s first grant was from Yavapai County Community Foundation for Home Repair on July 24, 2002.
On May 1, 2003, the Prescott United Methodist Church transferred management of its Open Door program to ICCJ. At that time Open Door offered food boxes, showers, toiletries and financial assistance limited to $100 per day of service. Open Door soon began expanding its operations, extending their hours of operation and providing school supplies to children of low-income families.
In 2005, ICCJ was shortened to CCJ, the Coalition for Compassion and Justice. While CCJ has no religious affiliation, the organization has strong ties to both religious and non-religious-affiliated groups.
Circles of Support became the third program of CCJ in 2005. Trained mentors began to help families on a personal level. Circles of Support is now collaborating with the Empower U program of Catholic Charities.
In 2010, CCJ launched the CCJ Thrift Shop in an effort to help fund the organization while furthering its poverty-relief mission.
Many good people have contributed to the success of CCJ. Little did the earliest participants know CCJ would grow as it has, thanks to fine leadership and community-wide support.