City Mission is a Christ-centered rehabilitative homeless shelter. We facilitate the transformation of those who have descended into homelessness, hunger and despair by providing food, shelter, case management, Christian based counseling, and life-changing programming. Our goal is to help each person who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society.
The City Mission offers two branches of service - Compassionate Care and our Life Recovery Program. Compassionate Care reaches out to those most in need by offering basic services such as meals, shelter, and medical care. The Life Recovery Program assists men, women, and children who are in crisis and looking for life transformation. Our philosophy is to meet people where they are and to lead them towards their God-given purpose.Learn More
City Mission’s work is only possible by the community and businesses of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s generous donation of time and treasure. If you, your business, or church would like to be part of bringing hope to those hurting in our region, or partner with us to deliver the same - please take action today.Learn More
On Monday at City Mission’s weekly chapel service, Chief Operating Officer, Brian Johansson, paid tribute to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center first by honoring the veterans in our residential program who have faithfully served to protect our nation and then by telling the story of his own personal encounters in New York City on that day. On September 11, 2001, Johansson was the Director of the Bowery Mission, the third oldest Christian rescue mission in the US, just 10 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. He was commuting to work that day, but the subways stopped running, all the bridges into the city shut down, and the traffic backed up for miles. Determined to help during the crisis, he found a place to park his car, and he walked over the 59th Street Bridge from Queens into the city while most New Yorkers were scrambling to get out. It took him nearly 4 hours to walk to work through all the chaos in the aftermath of the attack. When he finally made it to the Bowery that day, there were 50 people, covered in dirt, praying and crying inside the Mission’s historic chapel. He and the staff at the Bowery Mission ministered to and prayed with the victims, survivors, and the loved ones of those who were lost. Johansson, a native New Yorker, grew up the son of a pastor in a blue-collar neighborhood, playing stickball in the street with his friends. “We played stickball games where the manhole cover was first base,” he said, recalling those times in his life for the Mission’s residents and staff. “The Twin Towers were part of my childhood,” he added. “I saw them every day.” Many of those friends he played stickball with grew up to be New York City policemen and fire fighters who have their own firsthand accounts of that day. But Johansson’s story is a little different. He dreamed of becoming a New York City police officer, and after college, he even applied for entrance into the academy, but around that same time, he and his wife, Peggy, began to feel a calling to help the homeless. Every Wednesday, they would pack up some food and drive around New York City ministering to the street homeless. “In 1992, I got a letter of acceptance into the police academy – something I had been dreaming about ever since I was a kid,” Johansson remembered. But that very same week, he also received a letter from the Bowery Mission asking him to be the Director of their Transitional Center, which offers transitional housing for men who have graduated the Mission’s residential recovery program. After much prayer and soul-searching, he decided to follow God’s calling to serve the homeless at the Bowery Mission. By September of 2001, he had been promoted to the Director of the Bowery Mission, the position he held at the time of the attacks. In addition to his duties as the Director of the Mission, Johansson also volunteered as a New York state chaplain, a role he performed for 15 years. As a chaplain, he helped at both Ground Zero and the Park Avenue Armory. At the Armory, he prayed with families who desperately waited for news of their missing loved ones as the search for victims continued. Johansson recalled the despair and confusion of those days just after the attack. “Where there once was a straight and square building, there was now nothing but chaos and rubble. When you were standing at Ground Zero, you couldn’t tell east from west or north from south or up from down.” But he also remembered a message of hope from Psalm 40 that helped bring peace to many grieving families in the midst of all that chaos and suffering. “I cried out to the Lord, and He heard my cry. He lifted me out of the miry pit and set my feet on a rock. He gave me a firm place to stand.” And he encouraged the staff and residents of City Mission with that same passage. “We’ve all had little 9/11’s in our own lives,” he said. “We’ve all had tragedies, challenges, difficulties – whether it’s losing a loved one or struggling with addiction. We’ve all had something. Our response in those situations must be to draw nearer to God. It’s an opportunity for us to come to know Him more deeply. Don’t miss that opportunity.” “You may be in the midst of it right now,” he added. “You can’t tell left from right or up from down. The glass is broken all around. The beams are melting. Your world is turned upside-down. But if you just cry out to God. He will hear your prayer.” There are men, women, children, and veterans at City Mission right now who are hurting. Find out what you can do to help them today at www.citymission.org.
“I want the women and children in our program to know that they are loved,” said Sherry Rorison, City Mission’s new Manager of Women with Children Services. “We’re probably one of the first safe places that they can come and can be unconditionally loved and cared for.” Sherry has only been at the Mission for about two weeks, but she already has big plans. “I’d like to develop a strong program that is catered to their specific needs and that creates hope and healing for not only the mother and not only the child but as a family to strengthen the family bond. I really believe in my heart that the stronger the family, the more people individually think about how their behaviors effect the other members in the family.” For 30 years, Sherry worked with women and children at Light of Life Rescue Mission in Pittsburgh, and before that, she worked for the Salvation Army’s shelter for homeless women and children, so she brings both experience and passion to her role here at the Mission. “God has placed a passion in my heart for homeless women and children,” she explained. “And I can’t see me doing anything else.” Sherry knows that the residents living in our shelters have some kind of trauma in their past, and the first key to unlocking hope and healing in their lives is to confront that trauma head on. ”The only way to achieve transformation is for them to understand why they do the things that they do,” she said. “I’m not going to say you broke a rule so you’re on restriction. I’m going to say, ‘ok can we talk about why you chose that behavior.’ And to really dive into why they did what they did. I’m not saying there’s no consequences, but it’s having those hard conversations that is so important. Once they start to realize why they do what they do, then we’re able to work on a different way of learning.” But it’s not just about healing the mothers. The Mission’s Women with Children program is also about strengthening families. “We want to be able to focus on the family as a whole too,” Sherry noted. “So we’re going to work on family traditions, ways that they can bond as families, and family communication…And maybe that’s being able to go to the pumpkin patch or go to the swimming pool or have a picnic in the park.” “If the mom’s healing and the child is healing, then they’re healing as a family. That’s going to create transformation.” And since women with children are the fastest-growing homeless population in the US, we can really use your help to serve the families in our programs. Visit www.citymission.org and volunteer or donate today. Our women and children need your help!
“We’re very very pleased to be back in Monongahela,” said City Mission President/CEO Dean Gartland at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, July 19 for their new City Mission Thrift Store. Last summer, the building they were leasing for their store, just a few blocks away from their current location, was sold, so a new location was needed. “We didn’t intend on leaving,” explained Mark Vinoverski, City Mission’s Director of Hope Enterprises. “We have great relationships with everyone here in Monongahela, and the question we heard so often was when are you going to come back.” Ever since then, the Mission had been looking to find a new location in town. In February, they purchased the old McCrory’s building at 211 West Main Street in Monongahela and began the renovations to convert the space into a thrift store. It marks the first building the Mission has ever purchased for the purpose of opening a thrift store. With the support of countless donors, volunteers, and local churches, businesses, and organizations, the Mission was finally able to open the doors to their seventh Thrift Store and Donation Center on Monday, July 19. Christine Somales of Monongahela was the very first customer at the new store. “I shopped regularly at the old store,” she said. “I’m just so happy that you guys are back. The store looks awesome!” Somales was able to find a set of tea cups she plans to use for decorating tables at an upcoming Monessen Library function in October. “I live in Monongahela,” she added, “and I was watching the construction every day. It’s amazing how it just fits in with all the other buildings…I’m so happy to have the Mission back in Monongahela. We missed you so much.” All proceeds from the sale of items at City Mission Thrift Stores, support the Mission’s life-changing programs and services to reach the homeless and needy in our community. “We want people to ‘Thrift with a Purpose,’” said Gartland. “And our purpose is make sure that people’s needs are being met in our community and our county.” “We are the sustaining arm of the Mission,” explained Vinoverski, who runs City Mission’s Thrift Store organization. “Truly, the money we make here goes to support the programs at the Mission. We love what we do. We love the purpose of the Mission.” This is the seventh thrift store for the Mission, and according to Vinoverski, they are hoping to open an eighth store by the end of the year to bring even more revenue to the Mission’s programs and services. But for now, it was just an exciting day for everyone involved in the Grand Opening! There was cake and hourly give-aways, and a K-Love booth on-site with contemporary Christian music playing throughout the day. There was a steady stream of customers and a constant line at the cash register. “It’s a blessing to be here in Monongahela,” said Vinoverski, “and we’re looking forward to serving the community.” So come on out and shop, donate, or volunteer at one of the Mission’s seven thrift stores to help support this vital part of their ministry. Visit www.citymission.org/stores for more information.
On Monday, July 19, City Mission will celebrate the Grand Opening of its newest City Mission Thrift Store at 211 W. Main Street in Monongahela. The opening ceremony will be held at 10:00am at the new store with prayer, remarks from City Mission staff and noted figures in the community, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and an invitation to shop the new store. The store will open to the public for shopping at 11:00am, with prize giveaways every hour, a K-LOVE radio booth on-site, and merchandise specifically chosen for our grand opening shoppers. Last summer, the Mission closed their Monongahela Thrift Store following a change in building ownership. They decided to re-open the store in Monongahela at a new location. “We have a good customer-base here,” explained Brian Johansson, City Mission’s Chief Operating Officer, “and I think they were sad to see us go.” So City Mission purchased the old McCrory’s building on Main Street, which had been converted into a flooring store and then sat empty for the past three years. Once the Mission purchased the building, renovations began. Community members stepped up to offer their time and expertise to paint, build, replace lighting, and complete other tasks to help renovate the space for thrift store needs. With all their hard work along with the great work of local contractors, the City Mission Thrift Store will be a beautiful addition to Monongahela’s downtown area and a fun place to find great deals. The new location, City Mission’s seventh Thrift Store, is just a few blocks from where the old store had been. It marks the first time City Mission has purchased a building for the purpose of opening a thrift store. 100 percent of the proceeds from all seven City Mission Thrift Stores support the life-transforming programs and services for the homeless residents at the Mission. Please visit www.citymission.org for more information.
City Mission’s sixth annual Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk, presented by AccuTrex Products, Inc. and benefiting the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House for homeless veterans, is back in-person this year at Peterswood Park in Venetia on Saturday, August 7 at 8am. And building on the success of last year’s virtual run, this year’s run will also include a virtual component that starts on August 1 and ends August 7. ”This is a unique run because it was conceived to benefit a shelter for homeless veterans, and veterans feature prominently in the opening ceremonies and the event itself,” said City Mission Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts, a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army. The event was started six years ago by Jeff McCartney, a local realtor and board member for the City Mission Board of Directors, as a way to raise funds in support of City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House, which opened in July 2018 and houses 22 homeless veterans, helping to restore them to independent living. For the first five years, the event was sponsored by the Northwood Charitable Foundation. This year marks the first year of sponsorship by AccuTrex Products, Inc., a manufacturing company headquartered in Canonsburg. AccuTrex President and CEO, Marty Beichner, was named Pittsburgh’s Vetrepeneur of the Year in 2020, a prestigious honor presented annually to one of the region’s outstanding veteran business owners. “Marty and his wife Judy are long-time supporters of City Mission,” said Mounts. “Marty was a Corpsman on the ground in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion 26th Marines, and he understands veterans’ needs at such a visceral level. We’ve worked with him on several other veterans’ projects, and he is just rock solid. When we were looking for a sponsor for this event, Marty was the first person I thought of.” This will also mark the first year that the Mission Possible Run will be a hybrid event with both an in-person and virtual option. Due to the pandemic, last year’s event was forced to go completely virtual, and the success and flexibility of that option inspired the Mission to include a virtual component this year as well. “We’re really excited to be back to having a live run this year. But we’re also giving people the choice to register virtually for Mission Possible VI, and then to run or walk on their own time,” explained Mounts. “That way, they can participate even if they can’t make the actual run date. They’ll still get a T-shirt, and all proceeds will benefit City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veteran’s House.” Since its inception in July 2018, the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House has helped to guide nearly thirty veterans out of homelessness and into independent living. Richard, a Vietnam-era veteran and graduate of the Mission’s veterans’ program came to the Mission with significant health issues. For a time, he had lived in a refrigerator box under a bridge. Before moving out of the Veterans House into his own apartment, he said, “This is like heaven to be here [The Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House]. This place helped me turn my life around. I got a second chance, and I thank God for that.” You can help other veterans just like Richard turn their lives around. Learn more or register today for the sixth annual Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk at www.missionpossiblerun.org.
City Mission’s Samaritan Care Center is our community outreach program, which serves low-income individuals and families in our community. In an effort to prevent those who live in poverty from falling into homelessness, we provide food, support, and resources to those in need. And with a 21% poverty rate in the city of Washington, 9% higher than the national average, there are plenty of people who just need a little help. “We’re here to serve the community,” said Anne Wightman, City Mission’s Samaritan Care and Community Center Coordinator. “We want to be here as a resource for community members who just need some help to get through their day or their week.” Samaritan Care’s food pantry, which gave away 9,492 bags of food to local families in need during 2020, is open to the public twice a week every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am-3pm. You can come in, grab a basket, and browse through the pantry, choosing your favorite items – just like you’re shopping at the grocery store. If you need prayer, someone will pray with you. If you need help with housing, they can offer guidance and applications for public housing. If you need public assistance, a SNAP Outreach Coordinator for Washington and Greene Counties will be on-site twice a month to answer questions and show you how to apply for food stamps and other benefits. If you need legal help, they have an expungement session twice a month with the Director of Family Legal Services. If you need diapers, a toy, or even clothes for your child, they can often help you there too. “We want to let people know the services in the community that are available to them,” Wightman explained. “And we have a good working relationship with other nonprofits in the area.” Wightman and her family of volunteers can help you find your way to the best local services for you. The Samaritan Care Center is ramping back up now after COVID changed the way they did things for the past year. Pre-COVID, Samaritan Care served close to 100 families per week. When the pandemic lockdown started in March of last year, Samaritan Care launched City Mission’s Pop-up Pantries, using four of our Thrift Stores, which had been shut down for retail by statewide regulations, to distribute food bags to people who had lost jobs due to the pandemic or who needed assistance for any reason. The Pop-up Pantries initiative was kickstarted by a grant from the Washington County Community Foundation and supplemented by generous monetary and food donations. Our Pop-up Pantries gave away 4,144 bags of food, each valued at around $20, during the first two months of the pandemic lockdown. Each year, Samaritan Care also hosts several events for the community. Our Bags of Love event last Thanksgiving distributed 275 bags full of ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal at home. Santa’s Workshop allowed community members to select toys and other Christmas gifts for their children or grandchildren, and 50 families received backpacks full of back-to-school items at our Back to School event in 2020. Right now, the Samaritan Care Center is ramping up once again and hoping to serve the community like they have in the past. “It’s important to us that we’re able to help community members in their moment of need,” said Wightman. “And we want people to look forward to coming here. Nobody needs to feel embarrassed to ask for help. It’s really a family atmosphere. We all love each other.” “We truly appreciate that God entrusts us to be His hands and feet in this community. To me, this isn’t work. What I do here every day is exactly what I want to be doing.” Samaritan Care needs your help to keep our shelves stocked. Please help us to support those in need in our community. Visit www.citymission.org or contact Anne Wightman at email@example.com or 724-222-8530 x266.
At ten minutes before 4pm on Monday, June 7, the rain started coming down. Brianna Kadlecik, City Mission’s Career Services Manager, had just started setting up for the second annual outdoor Tie-Dye event for the residents. Quickly, with help from the Mission’s Recovery Support staff, she moved all the tables and supplies under the pavilion by the men’s shelter to get out of the rain. “We want to create opportunities for our residents to have fun and relax when they’re here, and to take a break from the heavier and more difficult issues that they’re working through,” Kadlecik said, explaining why she was so determined to put on the event for the residents, even in the rain. “Events like this also help build community with the residents and they get to see each other and the staff in a different light.” Last summer, during COVID lockdown, it was a difficult and unsettling time for the Mission and their residents. During that time, the Mission staff worked hard to host fun activities to help boost the morale of the residents – activities like movie nights and coloring groups. One Mission resident had the idea for a tie-dye-t-shirt-making event. “Not only did that resident want to do tie-dye for the sheer fun of the event, but he also wanted to have something that reminded him of his time at the Mission,” Kadlecik explained. “I thought it was a brilliant idea and we both took time to watch videos and read articles about how to do tie-dye.” The event was so successful last year, with nearly 30 residents participating, that Kadlecik knew she needed to do it again this year. Thirty-two residents and seven staff members made a shirt last Monday, and five more residents plan to make shirts in the coming weeks. “I firmly believe in the power that self-expression and creativity have in our personal healing and self-care,” Kadlecik noted. “We get so many residents from various walks of life and some of them haven’t been exposed to the freedom of creating to express themselves or to purely have fun. “It’s a joy to see the residents smiling as they dye their shirts -- to hear them laughing, helping, and encouraging one another as they create their shirts.” You can help the men, women, children, and veterans who stay with us to have positive experiences, gain confidence, build connections, and live with hope along their journey to independent living. Visit us at www.citymission.org to learn more about our programs and services and to see how you can support our life-changing work in the community.
This post chronicles the names of donors and their dedications to both honor and memorialize individuals as a celebration of their respect, love and admiration. Each of the buttons below links to sheet which lists our donors who have made contributions in-honor-of or in-memoriam-of. City Mission assembles these names and document them here so that we may show our appreciation to all the parties.
On Thursday, May 27, volunteer, Lisa Anne Harmon, spent several hours at City Mission helping Leah Dietrich, our Director of Residential Programs, set up a new Children’s Corner in the City Mission dining room. The Children’s Corner offers a fun, comfortable, and safe environment for the children of City Mission residents to play and socialize while their parent(s) eat meals or attend meetings. City Mission’s Women with Children Shelter already has an outdoor playground and a staffed Childcare Center where children can play while their moms look for work, attend classes, and work on their recovery. The Childcare Center, though, is only open and staffed at certain hours during the week. The new Children’s Corner in the dining room will be accessible any time for children to play in social groups or with their parents. It will also be available, not only to children who are Mission residents, but also to any of our residents’ children who come for visitations. “This is a dream come true,” said Dietrich. “The Mission has been able to meet the challenge of providing shelter for Women with Children, but we were looking for ways Mission parents could continue to bond with their children. This area does that! Not only for our Women with Children living here, but also our men, who are dads, now have a space for visitations. Not just a space but a fun space kills will want to go!” Lisa Anne Harmon is an active supporter of City Mission. She is passionate about the work being done here, and she is in regular contact with the staff to find new ways she can help. She especially has a heart for the children in our shelter. “I want to give these children more positive views on life, so they can break the cycle of poverty and move beyond it to a better life,” she said. How can you help the Mission? Find your own unique way to support our work in the community. Visit www.citymission.org or contact Director of Volunteers, Sheila Namy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-705-7137.