America was founded on the idea that anyone, regardless of race, sex, or background, can attain their version of success. But in recent years, we’ve seen this ideal shaken. We’ve woken up to the reality that there’s more to be done. Not everyone can pursue their American Dream due to racism, oppression, and the politicization of issues like homelessness. 

What if it’s up to us to help the vulnerable? What if it’s in our capacity to help those struggling in achieving their American Dream? 

We spoke to humanitarian Jay Burns on how to revive this ‘American Dream’ with compassion. 

About Jay Burns

Jay Burns is the Founder and CEO of Covenant Missions. Since 2012, his organization has served thousands of families by distributing food, goods, and services. Under his leadership, Covenant Missions has served the community of Roseville and the surrounding areas. They have partnered with companies such as Forgotten Harvest, Walmart, and Amazon in distributing over 5 million pounds of food. So far, they have assisted over 50,000 families. 

Burns always had a passion for helping others. He has participated in a variety of humanitarian works. For instance, he has served as a member of several national crisis teams. Jay also served on a special team created within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address critical problems throughout the county. 

Jay’s dad was a pastor, and he died while serving in ministry. Jay recalls that his dad always left the house with $2-$3 to give to the people he met on the streets. He remembers that his dad always made sacrifices to help others. Growing up, Jay wanted to emulate the big heart that his father had. 

Engaging In Humanitarian Work 

Jay has been actively involved in humanitarian projects. He started stripping food in partnership with Without Harvest. The partnership resulted in over 5 million pounds of food to 50,000 families. 

Jay has also worked at the border, helping immigrants get the help they need. While at the border, he would help de-escalate tensions. For instance, he was on a special team created to help unaccompanied minors entering the with the help working through the unification with family members. His experience help children g goes beyond US borders. He also went to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip supplying needed medical supplies and clothing in Hato Mayor del Rey area. 

Jay’s experiences have helped him see the human in all people. When he watched over kids at the border, he realized that the people labeled “immigrants” are human beings needing empathy and support. Jay says that the kids don’t come out of the womb looking Muslim. 

Yet, the issue hits home as well. Did you know that in most U.S counties, the average family can’t afford to buy a home? Recent reports show that by January 2020, 580,466 people were homeless in the U.S. 70% of those homeless are people with families. 

Lending A Helping Hand 

Jay explains that one of the reasons people aren’t involved is because they’re polarized by biases too extreme. Most people are extremists in issues that plague our society, e.g. women’s rights, abortion, immigration, e.t.c. Furthermore, people politicize the issues that plague our society and create narratives that justify not helping. 

However, we need to understand that the people on the other side of the fence are human beings. Real interactions with individuals who are in real struggles that seem unbelievable like a man who Jay met at a gas station from El Paso who had been staying awake at night to protect his daughter and family that had spent weeks on the streets with no home, maybe we would be more sensitive to how we frame such issues.

Jay helps affluent individuals get involved at a grassroots level in humanitarian projects.