Loneliness Replaced with Joy

November 2018

After experiencing great loss, your support is helping Russell have a happy holiday again.

The first time Russell came to the Mission in 2000, he came as a volunteer to share his life story.

He told guests about being raised by a single mom in a good home, and how an introduction to drugs altered the course of his future. When Russell hit rock bottom, by God’s grace, a stranger directed him to a shelter where he overcame his addiction and regained a clear mind, to later become an ordained pastor.

For years, Russell served at the Mission, especially during the holidays…until his wife of 15 years passed away on their wedding anniversary.

For two years after his loss, Russell lived alone. His loneliness turned overwhelming when he learned he had liver cancer. Treatment led to remission, but it took a big toll on Russell’s body. He started to self-medicate with alcohol, and soon after Russell needed help.

“I had been working with the Mission all this time, referring people in need and sharing resources. Now, I was the one needing the Mission’s help,” Russell shares. “I was ashamed of the choices I had made, but I was not embarrassed to accept the help,” he adds.

After spending many holidays alone, numbed by the grief of his wife’s death, Russell is eager to celebrate the holidays surrounded by people who care for him.

“The hands of God are at work at the Mission,” Russell says. “This was a place for an embattled pastor to just be a person, to come and get my foundation right with God again. It’s provided accountability and new direction for my future. I celebrate every day as a new day!”

Thanks to you, the loneliness Russell used to feel during the holidays has been replaced with joy and gratitude.

Hundreds of men like Russell face the holidays alone. Your generosity shows homeless neighbors that people do care. A gift today will help people like Russell have a safe place to enjoy a holiday meal and regain hope for the future!


“I Found My Family Here.”

In his own words, Lavar tells his story.

When my mom passed away in 2008, I didn’t know how to cope. I was the second of seven children, and was always the one who took care of her. I found myself without a purpose.

I wanted to just move on, but alcohol and drugs consumed my life. It’s how I dealt with things. My relationship with God fell by the wayside as I numbed my pain however I could. “Losing my mom was so hard. I didn’t know how to deal with it.”

I moved to New York City, but it didn’t take long for my money to run out. I didn’t know where to sleep or eat. I really didn’t know what I was going to do next.

Then one day, someone told me about Goodwill Rescue Mission. I went to the Newark campus and signed up for the program. Goodwill Rescue Mission gave me more than just another program — I found my family here!

There’s no doubt in my mind that God used Goodwill Rescue Mission to get my attention. I could have ended up in any rehab, but He wanted me fully sold out for him. No drugs. No alcohol. God absolutely blessed me by bringing me here. I’m grateful for what He is doing in my life.

I was introduced to Goodwill Rescue Mission by someone who had come through the program here. I saw the awesome things God did in her life, and what He’s doing in mine… and I hope that someday, I can be the person others look at as an example of God changing a life. I know I’m on the way.

Learn more about how men like Lavar overcome past mistakes and move forward with confidence and hope through Goodwill Rescue Mission.


From an Empty Stomach to a Full Life

Mike has received new hope for his future.

Mike’s first job came when he was 10 years old, a paper route in the Bronx. His Dad instilled in him a good work ethic and he found whatever jobs he could as he got older.

For 37 years, Mike worked hard, doing what he could to make ends meet. He was proud of his ability to provide for himself, but in addition to working, Mike was committed to something that wasn’t so beneficial…drinking.

Alcohol gained control over Mike’s life to the point where Mike’s paycheck went straight to feeding his addiction, instead of to groceries or bills. He fell into a depression and moved back in with his family to avoid sleeping on the streets. But his drinking didn’t stop and got so bad that he was forced to leave.

Trying to break the cycle took its toll on Mike’s spirit.

Knowing he needed help, Mike tried a few recovery programs. He would have periods of sobriety, but nothing seemed to stick. When someone told Mike about the Mission, he decided to see what it was all about.

Physically and spiritually hungry, Mike wasn’t expecting more than a cot and three meals. He thought he’d put in his time, get sober and leave. Instead, thanks to the gifts and prayers of friends like you, Mike found what he’d been missing all along. His self-esteem grew quickly and he built friendships that brought him a lot of comfort and joy.

On his journey to recovery, Mike received more than food and shelter. The Mission’s residential programs helped him improve his whole life. Mike learned more about himself and how to overcome his struggles. He served where needed, and he asked for help when he needed it. He now has freedom from addiction and a new plan for his future.

“The Mission is the greatest thing in the world that ever happened to me,” Mike shares. “I can walk down the street with my head high and pass a liquor store without a second thought. By the grace of God I found my place,” Mike says. “I’m not a loner anymore.”

More men like Mike will face this Thanksgiving feeling alone. Your support can give them a holiday meal and renewed hope for the future. Thank you!


Filling the Pantry Today for Thanksgiving

A full pantry today means thousands of holiday meals this season

For most families, cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is an all-day affair. But here at Goodwill Rescue Mission, our kitchen leaders begin cooking turkeys the Sunday before Thanksgiving and keep the ovens hot to prepare the delicious meals that our guests will receive.

When our Thanksgiving Banquet day arrives, the kitchen crew will have cooked 23 whole turkeys, 212 pounds of potatoes, 53 pounds of vegetables and more holiday favorites.

They do it all to feed the estimated 260 guests who will join us at our Newark campus for our banquet on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Our Tribeca campus hosts its banquet on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and our Bowery campus hosts a wonderful banquet on Thanksgiving Day.

While our kitchen leaders know it’s a lot of work, they also know a hot meal served with love can be the first step a neighbor takes toward a new life.

“It’s always a challenge to prepare for Thanksgiving,” one of our kitchen leaders shares. “But God will supply the provisions we need to help people who are hungry and experiencing brokenness.”

Thanksgiving at Goodwill Rescue Mission is truly a season-long event that brings compassionate people together. From volunteers who help cook and serve turkey in November, to people who donate food and money now, every person plays an important role in making Thanksgiving week special!

The result is hundreds of hungry Newark neighbors enjoying a homecooked meal in a kind, loving environment. And that meal can be the beginning of more lasting life transformation!

“To see people from different backgrounds come together to serve others is a blessing,” one of our kitchen leaders shares. “I love being here for Thanksgiving to give a plate of food to someone in need. But we have to fill our pantry now to feed everyone who walks through our doors on Thanksgiving.”


Nobody Should Spend Thanksgiving Alone. Thanks to You, Barry Won’t Have To.

Barry knows well what Thanksgiving is about. As a former chef, he understands how good food can bring friends and family together. But Barry never had friends or family…

His loneliness was magnified after he lost his job. “I couldn’t afford to pay rent. I had no one to talk to, and I started drinking.”

Barry searched for programs to get the help he needed and sensed God leading him to Goodwill Rescue Mission.

Walking through our doors was difficult. Barry wasn’t used to being around a lot of people. He felt uncomfortable. But Barry knew that in order to get well, he needed to trust God and do what was necessary, even if it was hard…

While in our life transformation program, Barry realized that strong relationships were important in order to get through difficult times. He also gained a deeper faith, seeing God open doors in his life—and also open his heart.

Today, Barry is going back to school to get certified as a Substance Abuse Therapist. “God picked me to help somebody else,” Barry says of his next career path. “A lot of people helped me in my struggles. I’d love to do that for someone else.”

“Another reason God brought me to Goodwill Rescue Mission is because I didn’t have a lot of good friends,” Barry explains. Now, Barry relies on the people he’s met through our program to help him. Thanks to friends like you, the loneliness Barry used to feel during the holidays has been replaced with joy and gratitude.

Hundreds of New Yorkers like Barry face Thanksgiving alone. They need our help—and renewed hope that people care. Let’s give everyone in need a safe, welcoming place to eat a hot, nutritious Thanksgiving meal!


“I finally feel like I have a home.”

You gave Jon a roof over his head and hope in his heart.

Jon’s family moved from the Dominican Republic to the United States when he was very young. After a series of traumas no child should have to endure, Jon ended up in the foster care system.

It wasn’t until Jon graduated from high school and started applying to colleges that he discovered the truth: he was an undocumented immigrant.

Despite finally having the next several years of his life mapped out, Jon was suddenly faced with a series of closed doors. He couldn’t afford college admission and couldn’t obtain legitimate employment. Jon fell into a deep depression, and was unable to seek medical attention, because he didn’t qualify for federal assistance.

“None of the systems that were set up to help could help me,” Jon says. “I had no family, no support system, nothing. I was completely alone.”

Jon wandered the streets for a few years, working odd jobs when he could to get enough money to eat. Even when he did have a roof over his head, Jon never truly had a home.

After a suicide attempt, a social worker at the hospital asked Jon if he had heard of the Mission. With no other viable alternatives, Jon decided to give it a try. That was nearly a year ago.

Since walking through our doors, Jon has received practical, emotional and spiritual support to move forward. For the first time in his life, he is surrounded by people who, in his words, “genuinely care.”

Through counseling, career classes and assistance with immigration paperwork, Jon not only has a plan for his future, he’s been equipped to make his plan a reality.

“They welcomed me with open arms,” Jon says. “They’ve done more for me in the past year than anyone has in my lifetime. I finally feel like I have a home.”

Men and women like Jon are wandering Newark’s streets alone. They need the compassion of someone like you to lift them out of despair and give them hope for tomorrow. Together, we can help. Thank you for caring!


You Can Help Spring Forth Hope For New Life

Hundreds of men, women and children find hot, nutritious meals in our dining hall. And for many of them, that meal is the first step to healing.

Goodwill Rescue Mission’s staff first addresses each guest’s physical hunger and discomfort with a hot meal, a shower and a clean, safe bed at night. Once these needs are met, we help with the spiritual hunger in their lives.

Your generous support this Easter will be used to care for the homeless and hungry during this season and throughout the year. Please consider a new gift to help others through Goodwill Rescue Mission.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
—2 Corinthians 5:17

More Than Meals: Easter Hope!

Since 1896, God has used Goodwill Rescue Mission to bring His Word and its power to change the lives of thousands of homeless and hurting neighbors.

A meal at the Mission can be the first step toward new life, and once they are here, they receive much more!

Here are the testimonies of three men who came to Goodwill Rescue Mission for a meal and a hand up:

“I was tired of getting high after years of drug abuse. Thankfully, God led me to the Mission and, once here, the Lord showed me that He would always be with me. As the months passed, I learned patience and humility.” —Kenneth

“Before I arrived at Goodwill Rescue Mission I spent my time selling and using drugs… as a result, I landed in jail. After I was released I had nowhere to go, so I came to Goodwill Rescue Mission. Once I made up my mind to change, God used the Mission to teach me how to believe in Him, and how to humble myself to be His servant.” —Willie

“My homelessness was caused by my addiction to drugs and alcohol and my inability to maintain employment. I came to Goodwill Rescue Mission and learned that God’s thoughts, will and ways are not always our thoughts, will and ways. When He saves and delivers us, He calls us into His service. I’ve also learned to persevere through trials and adversity.” —Keith

Your special Easter gift provides meals and hope for more neighbors in need during this season. Your compassion tells homeless and hurting people they are remembered and loved!


One Meal Can Be the First Step to a New Life

Darryl came to Goodwill Rescue Mission in deep despair. He had already separated from his wife and moved in temporarily with his mother. Then a tense situation with his mom started Darryl down a dangerous path. He didn’t know how to recover from feelings of betrayal and spiraled into a pit of anger and resentment.

“I felt like I was going to die or hurt someone I loved,” Darryl recalls.

To numb the pain, Darryl started to use cocaine every day. But in the cloud of anguish, God was speaking to him, nudging him to find help. That’s when Darryl learned about Goodwill Rescue Mission.

After sitting down for a nourishing meal and learning about the programs available to him, Darryl decided to join our 21-Day Program. And we’re so thankful he did!

Today, after continuing with the Mission’s residential recovery program in Manhattan, Darryl is free of drugs and level-headed. He is building a plan to find new work, and put the pieces of his life back together.

“The Mission has been awesome in my spiritual guidance,” Darryl shares. “I was angry and depressed. But God has healed me and helped me work through the pain I was feeling.”

What’s most exciting about Darryl’s transformation is the impact it’s having on his family. “God is bringing my wife, my daughters, and I back together. Slowly but surely. He’s been real good to me.”

When you provide a meal at Goodwill Rescue Mission, it can be the first step toward a new life! Today, you can help more families find healing. Just ask Darryl… your compassionate support is changing lives. Thank you!

Our Commitment to Our Community

For over 120 years, Goodwill Rescue Mission has been committed to ministering to the poor and homeless in Northern New Jersey. Because of our industrious staff and thousands of dedicated volunteers, we’ve been able to make every dollar from our generous donors go a long way.

During the summer, when donations to the Mission drop significantly, we work harder to stretch your dollars, providing food, shelter and other life-saving care for hundreds of people every day. Homelessness doesn’t take a vacation in the summer, and we’re grateful for friends like you who help provide for the needs of those we serve.

Thank you for offering God’s love at the Mission in the form of meals, shelter and other lifesaving care.


You Welcome Neighbors with Warmth and Hope

Most men like Terrence never imagined they’d have to come to Goodwill Rescue Mission. But all of us know someone who has lost a job. The strain of losing an income not only comes with pressure to find something new; it can lead to back payments on rent… and eventually homelessness.

It’s unbearable to think about having to survive on the frozen, icy streets. The reality is far worse. Hypothermia, frostbite, and pneumonia threaten the homeless each winter day. But your generosity to Goodwill Rescue Mission gives men in need a warm, safe alternative!

Thanks to partners like you, Goodwill Rescue Mission welcomes men to our Emergency Shelter. They come just as they are… cold, hungry and tired… and you give them a warm place to sleep, a meal to eat and rest from the worries they face.

For some of our guests, receiving temporary refuge as they get back on their feet is a godsend. A shower at night and breakfast before a job interview provide much-needed confidence. For other guests, your kindness encourages them to seek more long-term support. Counseling, job skills training and spiritual guidance lead many men toward lasting life transformation

Terrence was renting a house that went into foreclosure. Just like that, he needed a safe place to stay: “The Mission takes away the worry of where to sleep. Simply freshening up in the morning helps me do my work as I strive to regain stability.”

Gabriel slept in abandoned buildings before he came to the Mission. He thanks God for the chance to seek a new job! “I lost my job and couldn’t pay rent. I don’t have family to depend on, but the Mission took me in right away. Goodwill Rescue Mission is a blessing, and is helping a lot of people.”

A trucking accident took Richard away from work. You have given him stability as he recovers: “Goodwill Rescue Mission is truly a safety net. I had been living paycheck to paycheck and didn’t know where to go. Here, I got help immediately. I thank God for the Mission donors!”