ASHWAUBENON - James Jones isn't hard find.
Sporting a red sport jacket you can see him and his wide smile – from across the room.
But behind that smile is a story that Jones says too many homeless children endure Friday night.
While Jones is a household name among many Packers fans, growing up, it was Jones who didn't have a place to call home.
"I'm able to reach out, share my story and help those who are going through the same things and I love doing it," said the Packer wide receiver and ‘Love Jones 4 Kids' founder.
"You're moving from hotel to hotel, homeless shelter to homeless shelter, school to school," said Jones. "It gets hard, it gets rough; at times you start wondering, 'why me?'"
But Jones now knows; using his name to football-fame to raise money and homelessness awareness.
"It's about putting smiles on their faces," said Jones. "It's about giving them a sign of hope."
"Last year, we raised about, almost $30,000," said Jones' wife Tamika about the annual ‘Toast 2 Success' fundraiser, "And this year, we're hoping to raise more."
James and Tamika started the foundation 'Love Jones 4 Kids' in 2008 to help kids in Green Bay and San Jose, California. All proceeds from the cocktail reception, auction and raffle at Green Bay Distillery in Ashwaubenon will go to 'Love Jones 4 Kids' and Freedom House Ministries.
Two years ago, Freedom House Ministries became a recipient of the 'Toast 2 Success' event. This is the event's fourth year.
"People have to come alongside to serve people," said Robyn Davis, president of Freedom House Ministries, a Green Bay-based homeless shelter that serves Brown County families with children, helping them get back on their feet.
Despite the inroads, Davis says the fight against homelessness is far from over in Brown County.
Homelessness is really still flying under the radar, so to speak," explained Davis. "(Green Bay) isn't a big city where you actually see homeless individuals or families on the street."
Davis says the shelter can hold about 50 people, at its full capacity. But there's many more waiting in the wings – about 60 families or about 160 children.
Last year, 'Toast 2 Success' raised about $15,000 for Freedom House; moving forward this year, Davis says care must be taken to ensure those families who need help are taken care of, carefully.
"We want to be very mindful of what our next step is and look at partnerships within the community," said Davis.
And for Jones, that means doing what he does best – being himself.
The Jones' hope to raise more than they did last year, but Tamika says a final total won't be known until Monday.
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