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.

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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!”

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Everett went from lonely and empty to filled with hope!

For most of his life, Everett struggled with homelessness and addiction. He grew up with an abusive father and began distrusting authority at an early age. When he left home at 18, Everett quickly learned of the temporary high that drugs and alcohol bring.

He tried rehabilitation programs, but wouldn’t let anyone tell him what do. He kept his distance from God, just like he did with his own father. And so he stayed on the streets, not sure where he would sleep each night or eat his next meal…

“It’s hard being homeless,” Everett says. “I’m out in all kinds of weather. Winter is the hardest… that’s not a life.”

When he came to Goodwill Rescue Mission for help last winter, Everett was at the end of his rope. He was lonely and hopeless, and didn’t know where to turn. He found a warm meal, a safe bed, and a loving welcome.

“I had tried everything, then I found Goodwill Rescue Mission,” he remembers. “The staff truly cared. They helped me like I had never been helped.”

Through Goodwill Rescue Mission’s short-term compassionate care programs, Everett grew to know his loving Heavenly Father while he had his daily needs met. Now, trusting Jesus, he is working toward obtaining stable housing. Everett has also been clean and sober since January!

“God may not always show up when I want, but He’s always on time when I need him,” says Everett.

As the cold of winter settles in, neighbors like Everett are sleeping on the streets of our city, unsure of where they’ll find their next meal. Will you help us as we help them?

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“Goodwill Rescue Mission helped me when I needed it.”

For many, it’s hard to imagine growing up where religion is illegal. But that’s where Angel lived in 1960 — when Fidel Castro closed churches across Cuba.

Angel was grateful to come to America in the 1980s. He worked hard and opened a corner grocery store in New Jersey. He was a prime example of the American dream… until the Great Recession forced Angel to close his business.

It didn’t take long before Angel ran out of money and options. Depressed, he turned to the only place he knew might help… Goodwill Rescue Mission.

“Goodwill helped me find a place to live many years ago,” Angel shares. “Now, they give me meals and a safe place to sleep. I help by working in the laundry room.”

This time, Angel has also learned about God, a gift he’s most thankful for. “I can tell God ‘thank you.’ I never knew about God before.”

Today, Angel is excited to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. And he’s working hard to get back on his feet.

Your gift today can give food and shelter to more neighbors. But, like Angel, you can also share the gift of faith.

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“I Will Forever Be Grateful for this Place!”

Losing a loved one can crush anyone’s soul. So when Richard lost five close family members in seven short months, the pain was nearly too much to bear. “I wanted to numb the feeling,” Richard recalls. So he turned to drugs in his anguish.

Instead of taking him away from reality, drugs took away Richard’s 12-year custodial position and his ability to pay rent.

“I always worked hard to take care of myself,” he shares. “Coming to the Mission was like another crush to my self-esteem. I didn’t want to be a burden.”

Although Richard was scared to walk through our doors, he was surprised by how welcomed he felt. “The staff accepts you as you are,” Richard remembers. “They are supportive and understand when you are down and out.”

Our 21-Day Program provides much needed support for men in need of relief while they work on securing more permanent housing.

Here, Richard dove right into our group meetings and Bible studies. “Every day, I receive spiritual inspiration,” he says. “They help me build back my self-esteem.”

At 61, Richard is eager to earn his GED! He wants to pursue a professional certificate to keep working and have something to show for his life.

“It was hard to come here,” Richard admits, “But now I’m shedding happy tears. I feel the change coming from being here, and I’ll forever be grateful for Goodwill Rescue Mission.”

Your generosity helped Richard get started on the road to recovery! A fresh start often begins with a nourishing meal and safe shelter. You can share that gift of hope this Thanksgiving season.

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Thanks to you, our doors are always open

William vividly remembers seeing the eviction notice on his door last year.

It made him remember back to 2002 when he came to Goodwill Rescue Mission for the first time. What started as a need for good food and safe shelter turned into William graduating from our life transformation program nearly 14 years ago!

We thank God that William stayed clean for so many years. Unfortunately, poor choices and a destructive relationship left him without housing… again.

Homeless and ashamed, William was afraid of what people might think if he came to the Mission for help a second time around.

You can imagine William’s relief when he came to the Mission for warm meals — and realized that he didn’t need to be worried about what others thought.

“Everyone was loving, forgiving and Christ-like,” William recalls. Encouraged by the warm welcome he received, he joined our residential life transformation program again, this time with a richer understanding of God’s unconditional love.

Transforming Lives Holistically

Over the past year, William has dared to hope for a life of dignity and success. Guided by a personalized growth plan, William has received training through individual Bible study, financial planning, counseling, vocational development and more! He’s also grown in his confidence to pursue new dreams.

We’re excited to share that William is currently in the middle of summer courses at Rutgers-Newark! He’s well on his way to earning a degree and finding meaningful, sustainable work.

William “can’t say ‘thank you’ enough” to friends like you who have made his transformation possible. As we welcome more men to Goodwill Rescue Mission this summer, we thank you for your ongoing support that feeds the body and nourishes the soul.

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How David Found Direction at the Mission

For years, David was caught in the cycle of addiction. He had no sense of direction for his life, describing the addiction as an abyss.

“Drugs, broken relationships, no self-worth, I was living in a very dark world,” David says.

His world grew even darker when he was asked to leave his home, walking away from his wife and children to a life on the streets. Soon David found himself sleeping wherever he could — abandoned cars, vacant lots, Penn Station or abandoned buildings.

“There is no sense of comfort on the streets,” he shudders, remembering. “There is no sleep on the concrete. Your mind has to be awake all the time; there’s no security.”

One evening while wandering Newark, David decided to stop into a building he had passed many times: Goodwill Rescue Mission. The person who met him at the door told him he had missed the cut-off time for dinner, but that he was welcome back the next day.

“I went back,” remembers David. “It must have been God, because I had no idea what the program had to offer, no idea what was inside.”

Since that first meal at Goodwill Rescue Mission, David has joined our Going D.E.A.P.E.R. program and celebrated a year of sobriety on February 12! He has been able to learn the value of accountability and receive a personalized growth plan.

Most importantly, though, David has found a renewed and growing relationship with Jesus.

“I’ve been reinvigorated to go out and seek God; to worship Him and believe His promises,” David says.

It’s thanks to the help of friends like you that we are able to help men like David, and he is grateful for your prayers and support.

“I wish I had arms long enough and wide enough to hug those I don’t know and humbly tell them thank you for helping me,” he says.

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Larry’s Story

After losing his job and his apartment, Larry feared he would soon be living on the streets, eating from dumpsters and allowing his addiction to destroy his life. Instead, he’s sleeping in a bed with a mattress, clean sheets, a fresh-smelling blanket and a soft pillow. He’s eating plenty of wholesome food. And he’s grateful to be in the care of people who love him and are helping him become the man God intended him to be.

“I grew up going to church but I never listened. I had a Bible, but I never opened it. I thought I could do things my way,” Larry says. But after decades of drug abuse, broken relationships and numerous jail sentences, he realized he couldn’t make it on his own. Hungry and on the verge of homelessness after an injury that left him unable to work, he stopped at the Mission for a meal…  and he stayed.

“It was God’s way of telling me I had to change my life,” he says. “I’d tried everything else… now I had to try things His way.”

At the Mission, Larry is in the first phase of our long-term Life Transformation Program. “I read God’s Word every day and it helps me with my struggles,” he says. “I’m off drugs and I’ve stopped smoking cigarettes. I want to get my life back right and be normal.”

Larry performs his work assignment in our kitchen, serving the homeless who join us for meals. “I help them the best way I can,” he says, in return for how the Mission has helped him. “This place rescued me. I’m really grateful to them, and most of all I thank God.”

Thank you for making it possible for men in need of a second chance to get the help they need at the Mission!

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How Rudy Found Hope at the Mission

“Only God can direct your steps and I really needed His guidance,” says Rudy, a graduate of our residential Life Transformation Program. “I was spiraling downhill and I don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t come to the Mission.”

In his mid-50s, Rudy failed a drug test and was terminated from his job. After two years of searching, he still hadn’t found work. “Then everything started to fall apart,” he says. He lost his car and the place where he was living. And because he and his wife were separated, he had nowhere to go. “It was all my fault,” he admits. “I had no alternative but the streets.”

With only the clothes on his back, he sought shelter at Newark’s Penn Station. There he began asking directions and advice from other homeless individuals he met. He was referred to a caseworker who told him about Goodwill Rescue Mission.

Rudy was offered the opportunity to take part in our long-term Life Transformation Program and he readily accepted. The three-phase curriculum prepares men spiritually and vocationally to be upstanding and productive members of the community.

“For years, because of the situation I was in, the only thing I thought about was myself,” Rudy says. “In this program, through the Bible teachings, I’m learning how to get along with people and put others first. Then the blessings start to flow in. The classes are also providing tools to help me restructure my life and get back on my feet.”

Rudy graduated from our program last spring. Today, he continues to study the Bible and believes the Christian principles he’s learned will be an ongoing part of his life. “You really can’t do a single thing on your own. You need God’s help,” he says.

Your support makes it possible for Goodwill Rescue Mission to be a place where people experience God’s love and, for many, find new life. Thank you for your compassion and generosity!

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