Thank you for participating in Sweet Sunday Winners List
this year's virtual Sweet Sunday.
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
THANK YOU for your support of the 2021 Sweet Sunday at HOME Dessert Festival! Your generosity helps City Mission continue to provide HOPE for HOMELESS through the proceeds of this event, held virtually this year due to COVID-19. Although winners of our auctions and raffles have been notified by email, we thought you may want the list of winners to check. The list is by the event platform # assigned to you when starting the auctions and raffles. You can sign in to the platform https://one.bidpal.net/sweetsunday/search/sweets(authentication:login/sign-in) to get your number. We look forward to holding this event back in the in person format for 2022, so see you there!
Katie Mason has been City Mission’s Event Coordinator since May of 2020, and she loves working for the Mission alongside wonderful people who work hard every day to help others and make the world a better place. “I love working with an incredible team, serving incredible people, and furthering an incredible mission,” she explained. Katie was born and raised in Peters Township, and her first experience with City Mission was volunteering with her Dad at the inaugural Sweet Sunday when she was a little girl. When she was young, she loved to study history, and her dream job was to be a historian or a professor or any job where she could learn more about history every day. In high school, she moved with her family to Big Timber, MT. She went to college at Montana State University in Bozeman, and for nearly 4 years, was the Director of Artistic Planning & Development Coordinator at the Helena Symphony, the “largest regional-professional orchestra in Montana.” Recently, she moved back to the area and was hired as the Event Coordinator at the Mission, where she has had the privilege of helming the 27th annual Sweet Sunday, the same event she attended with her dad as a child. “I love the tradition of Sweet Sunday,” Katie said of our largest annual fundraiser, with all proceeds helping to provide hope for the homeless. “I remember it as a kid, and it has evolved into a truly special community event that is about much more than buying chocolates, bidding on auction items, buying raffle tickets, and watching entertainment. It is about bringing our community together to help the homeless and the underserved.” This year’s Sweet Sunday event is the first one ever to go virtual. It has been an enormous undertaking to bring all the fun, tradition, and excitement of a beloved in-person event into an exclusively online setting. But Katie has been up to the challenge, and the event has already exceeded expectations thanks to the compassion and generosity of our community. On September 4, in Cedar Falls, IA, Katie will be getting married to Benjamin Bower! “I know it sounds cliché,” she said, “but I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!” A few months ago, Katie got sick and ended up in the ER. Ben took time off of work and drove all the way from his home in Maryland to take care of her for 4 days. She and Ben have already bought a house in Canonsburg and are looking forward to their big day! Thanks, Katie, for everything you do for the Mission!
City Mission’s Sweet Sunday at Home Dessert Festival presented by Realty One Group Gold Standard this year will mark the 27th year of the event and the first time it will be conducted virtually, with sweets delivered to your door on Sunday February 28th. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will look quite a bit different than it has in past years, but it will still have all the fun and excitement that you have come to know and love from Sweet Sunday. “Although Sweet Sunday will be very different this year, the need remains the same,” said City Mission President/CEO Dean Gartland. “This is a critical time of year because of the Pandemic and the need for hope is greater than ever.” “This year, we’re bringing Sweet Sunday to everyone’s homes,” explained City Mission Event Coordinator, Katie Mason. “It starts on February 15 and culminates on Sunday, February 28th with delivery to your door. You can start early to order your sweets boxes, bid on silent auctions, and buy raffle tickets for your favorite baskets, the Wreath of Wealth, and a custom dollhouse!” You can participate in the event online at: www.citymission.org/support/sweet-sunday. All sweets ordered between February 15 and February 27 will be delivered to your home on Sunday, February 28. Sweets ordered on the 28th will be delivered on Monday, March 1 along with auction prizes. You must live within a 30-mile radius of the Mission to have any sweets or items delivered to your home. All proceeds benefit City Mission’s life-changing programs. “For years, people have loved Sweet Sunday,” said Chief Development Officer Dr. Sally Mounts. “It’s a fun family event at a reasonable price point. We’re doing everything we can to transfer that fun spirit to a virtual/at-your-door delivery event. And it will be so easy to access. Just go to our website, click on the Sweet Sunday tab, and get connected to wonderful, delicious sweets and fun auctions.” The Mission will also host an exciting Facebook Live event on Sunday, February 28. “You’ll get front row seats to an exclusive concert by Scott Blasey of the Clarks,” Mason explained. “The sweets will also be delivered right to your door, along with a special surprise bag full of goodies, including your program, information on voting for your favorite sweets, kids’ activities, and gifts from our sponsors!” Creating an online event that captures the fun and excitement of Sweet Sunday was no easy task, and for Mason, who joined City Mission’s staff in May, this was her first time ever planning the Mission’s largest yearly fundraiser. But she remembers attending the very first Sweet Sunday with her Dad, who passed away 21 years ago. “They are some of my most cherished memories with him,” she said. “I am honored to be working alongside amazing people to create an event that encompasses the essence of Sweet Sunday while maintaining low-risk of spread during the pandemic.” “My favorite part of Sweet Sunday is the basket auctions,” said Mounts. “It’s always been so much fun to see the glittering baskets lined up, waiting for tickets. We’re having the same auction, only this year, it’s online. And I get two whole weeks to look at the pictures, read the descriptions, and decide what baskets to put my tickets in!” “This will certainly be a different Sweet Sunday than I’m used to,” added Gartland. “However, I’m really looking forward to connecting online with first-time Sweet Sunday supporters. And I’m really looking forward to sharing in all the joy and excitement of this year’s event.” Please go to www.citymission.org for more details about the event or contact Katie Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I can honestly say that I’ve been depressed most of my life,” Carmella said. She was abused as a child and experienced the death of two husbands in her lifetime. Her first husband died of lung cancer when he was just 38 years old. “Death and grieving have been like a big part of my story,” she noted. Over the years, Carmella turned to drugs to ease the pain of her grief. “Drugs weren’t my problem,” she explained. “They were my solution.” But eventually, the drugs took over and derailed her life. When she was clean, she was successful. She is well-educated. She worked in various careers. She was a counselor, an administrative assistant, a corrections officer. But drugs ripped her life apart, and in 2017, she found herself homeless. “I never thought that my life would turn out the way that it has.” Eventually, she found her way to City Mission, and she has started to put the pieces of her life back together. She has a job and is going to counseling to manage her grief and depression. She is working the steps to stay clean. “The Mission has given me the opportunity to look at how full my life is instead of how little my life is,” she said. “I’m not focusing on what I don’t have. I’m looking at what I have to be grateful for.” Carmella has two daughters, 33 and 15, who are her biggest supporters. “My children understand addiction because we’ve been through it for so long. They’ve seen me at my best. They’ve seen me at my worst. And they’re proud of me now.” She is also working to complete a degree in social work so she can help people who have suffered like she has suffered. “If I can just be a better mother to my children, a better child of God and to be able to get into social work somewhere where I can help people like me, that’s what I’d like to do.” It turns out, Carmella’s life was always fuller and richer than her grief ever let her realize, and now she is finally filled with hope and a promise for the future. “I don’t see myself as a failure anymore,” she said. “I don’t see myself as a burden. I’m able to give back where I took so much. This time last year, I was hopeless. I was depressed. I was spiritually bankrupt. I was gloom. I was doom. And today I have hope.” “This is a place of restoration. This is a place of giving life to the lifeless.”
In December, when Governor Wolf announced a second round of restrictions on indoor dining for restaurants, Dan Smith, the President and CEO at Equipment & Controls Inc. in Lawrence, PA,had an idea. “It started with a conversation at the kitchen table,” Smith explained. “I saw two big problems. You have local restaurant owners who have been in the community for years and have battled through COVID since March. They probably just ordered all this inventory for the holidays and now they’re forced to shut down. And then you also have people in the community who can’t afford to eat. And I just thought, if we could get the right people involved and put the funding in the right place, maybe we could put a dent in both of these problems.” Smith called City Mission’s Chief Financial Officer, Denny Kennedy. They had worked together years ago when Kennedy was the CFO at Smith’s company. “We had kept in touch over the years, and he told me when he started working at the Mission.” When Smith and Kennedy first brought the idea to City Mission’s President/CEO Dean Gartland, his first thought was, “what a tremendous idea. This can be a win-win for everyone involved. I was excited to see how this idea can be implemented. We started working right away to make this idea into a reality.” “Really, all I had was an idea,” said Smith. “All the credit goes to the folks who went out and made it happen. I couldn’t believe how fast it all came together and how passionate everyone at the Mission was to get this going.” Smith made an initial donation to City Mission, and the Heroes Fighting Hunger program was born. City Mission used the funds to purchase meals from local restaurants for the 160 homeless residents living on their campus. So far, the Mission has supported eleven local restaurants, purchasing approximately 400 meals from each establishment, and those meals have provided lunches and dinners for City Mission residents throughout the month of January. “This is just such a great idea. It’s a massive win-win for restaurants struggling with lowered revenue due to COVID-19, and for our residents here at the Mission as well,” said City Mission’s Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts, who joined the program early on and quickly jumped into action. Mounts reached out to generous donors in the community, and using Smith’s initial donation as a matching gift, was able to raise even more money for the cause. Donors to the new program include: Brian and Karen Shanahan, Mike and Kathy Makripodis, Jon Halpern of Pineapple Payments, and others. “We’re all struggling to get to the other side of this terrible pandemic,” added Mounts. “Anything that unites us in this effort is a bonus for the whole community. And since so much of our ministry centers around food and shelter, it helped us provide a real bright spot for our residents.” City Mission typically relies on food donations to keep costs low and financial donations to provide meals for the 160 residents who depend on them for food and shelter every day. But the generous donations received as part of this project, enabled the Mission to spend more per meal this month, which helped not only to support local restaurants but also to offer their residents more upscale meals and a greater variety of options. City Mission’s Food ServicesManager, Judy Sandy, came on board to organize the project, contact the restaurants,and put together a meal schedule. “What an awesome idea this is,” she said. “It’s exciting. It’s good for the restaurants and for our residents.” Sandy reached out initially to eleven different restaurants who have worked with the Mission in the past, and every single one of them said yes. “They were all excited and grateful. Some of them even asked for the name of the donor so they could thank him personally.” “And it’s special for our residents too,” she added. “The variety of the meals is incredible. It’s like they’re getting to eat out every day. These are places they can’t typically go, and these restaurants are actually coming to us. And the residents are so grateful. When they come in and see the food it’s like they’re thinking, ‘is this really for me? Do people really care this much about me?’ It makes me cry to even think about it.” Mission BBQ in Robinson has been providing lunch on Thursdays for the residents this month. They served up kielbasa, pulled pork, pulled chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, baked beans, cornbread, dinner rolls, and their signature barbecue sauce – a worthy spread for someone who maybe just a few days earlier had no idea where their next meal was coming from. “One of the main challenges for this project,” said Smith, “was really the speed at which it all had to happen. The need is immediate. Restaurants are hurting today. People are hungry right now. This all had to happen in days and weeks, not months, and I’ve been really impressed with the passion and energy of everybody at the Mission.” “The hope is,” he added, “When all this is over and the restaurants are back up on their feet, hopefully they remember the Mission and pay it forward.” City Mission hopes to reach out to more local restaurants later this month and continue to offer support as long as the donations last. Please contact Dr. Sally Mounts at 724-705-7122 or email@example.com if you’d like to donate to this program and support local businesses and the residents of City Mission.
City Mission will be hosting a live, virtual event on Sunday, February 28th as part of their 27th annual Sweet Sunday dessert festival and their very first ever Sweet Sunday at Home event, where the sweets are delivered to your door. Headlining the entertainment for this year's event will be none other than Scott Blasey of The Clarks.Scott Blasey is the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for Pittsburgh-based rock band the Clarks. Over their 34-year career the Clarks have performed all over the country, sold more than a million albums, toured with Steely Dan and John Mayer, and performed live on the Late Show with David Letterman, and the 2009 NHL WinterClassic. Their music has been featured in movies and television shows, including the 2015 season premiere of the Simpsons. In addition to his success with the band, Scott has found an audience as a solo artist. He’s released three solo albums and opened for rock icons Neil Young, and the Beach Boys. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and just recently was inducted into the Connellsville Area High School Hall of Fame. Most importantly, Scott and his wife Denise are the proud parents of Sofia, Ava, and Gracelyn.The Blasey family has been supporting the City Mission for the last several years. Denise is originally from Washington, PA, and feels strongly about giving back to her community. Denise and Scott, like many others, have been impressed by the City Mission’s dedication to helping adults and families in need. They regularly perform at the City Mission on Thanksgiving, singing songs and helping to serve the residents. Scott and the kids also perform at SweetSunday every February. They’ve seen firsthand the difference the City Mission makes in the community, and are proud to give their time and energy to further their goals.
Growing up without a father, Matt had no stable role model to guide him. He fell in with the wrong crowd and developed harmful addictions and behaviors that took control of his life. He experienced times of sobriety – even developing a relationship with God, going to ministry school, and preaching the gospel. But over time he relapsed and continued down the same destructive path. Finally, when he permanently lost custody of his precious young daughter because of his drug use, he was heartbroken. And he asked the Lord to help him change his life. “It was the beginning of my surrender to Jesus Christ,” he says. He came to the Mission to continue his journey in our Christ-centered program. “I came here looking to connect with my Father, God, and to renew the relationship with Him that I once had,” he explains. “I wanted to pursue God in prayer… in meditation… and in His Word,” Matt says, “and I have found all that here.” And as he embraces God’s forgiveness for his past, “I’m learning to love myself the way God loves me,” he says. Now, with God guiding his steps, he feels called to return to the mission field. “I’ve figured out that I’m truly God’s son… I’ve discovered what my passion is… and what I was put on this earth to do,” he shares. “I’m truly happy, and I can say that with all my heart.” Thanks to the blessing of your support, Matt has hope as a new creation in Christ. “The Mission gives an individual the opportunity to get right with the Lord and to truly change their life.”
At just 26, Mashae was struggling as a single mother. Her father’s sudden death had saddened her deeply. Her depression eventually led to substance abuse, which made it difficult for her to care for herself and her three children. “I wasn’t eating or taking showers. My kids weren’t going to school. I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t want to admit it.” At first, the drugs helped her to numb the pain of losing her father. They also gave her the energy to get up in the middle of the night with her youngest child and to clean up around the house. But very quickly, everything unraveled, and the drugs took over her life. “I was pretty broken. Very upset, very confused. I was very overwhelmed.” Finally, Mashae’s mother stepped in… and encouraged her to seek help at City Mission. At the Mission, her life is being restored through Christ-centered programs and a newfound trust in the Lord. “I’ve learned He will always be there for you no matter what…He will always forgive you. He’s always on your side. He will never let you down.” Mashae is working to earn her GED and hopes to become a paralegal. She is dedicated to being the mother and godly role model her children need. Today, Mashae says, “I am healthier and happier. I know my worth now.”
The City Mission Library in Memory of Saige Knapp opened on December 2. It has been a dream two years in the making for Shelby Lonce, City Mission’s Donor Relations Manager, who is working to honor the memory of her brother, Saige, who passed away in 2017. “When you lose a loved one,” she explained, “your whole life comes to a screeching halt. The rest of the world keeps moving, but you’re stuck.” Shelby and her family have been looking for ways to heal after their tragic loss. “The idea of donating books kept gnawing at me,” Shelby said. “It came to me in dreams.” When her brother died, Shelby and her family cleaned out his home. They packed away four boxes full of stuff. Three of those boxes were books. “Books are what helped him in his life,” she said. “he managed to keep all of those books even through time in jail and periods of homelessness. They were helpful to him. I wanted to get books in the hands of our residents too.” She started a book drive and got 80 books by the end of the first day and 200 brand new books at the end of the initial drive. When she donated the books to City Mission, Dean Gartland, the Mission’s President/CEO told her it had always been his dream to start a library for the residents. “And that became my mission,” Shelby recalls. Shelby developed a very specific vision for the library. It was very important that the books be brand new or in excellent condition. She did not wish to fill the library with books that look like somebody’s throwaways. “I don’t want our residents to think that they are anybody’s throwaways,” she explained. “I want them to feel and know that they are worthy. This is just a moment in their life on the way to better things.” Roughly a thousand books were collected for the library. Shelby made a list of all the books Saige had read throughout the last five years of his life, and she was able to get almost every single one of them for the City Mission Library. One of the classrooms in the Mission’s Career Training and Education Center was converted into a library space, and beautiful, new shelves were built and installed along the walls. Shelby procured an online cataloguing system and started coming in on the weekends to label, categorize, and sort each and every book. Quickly, she realized that this was a much bigger task than she was able to accomplish on her own. That was when Brianna Kadlecik, City Mission’s Manager of Career Services, jumped onboard the project. “It was just this amazingly perfect thing,” said Brianna. “I love books, and I get to sit in a room full of books and talk to residents about books. This is my dream.” Brianna took over the day-to-day management of the library, and she was immediately impressed with the quality and variety of the books. “When I do intake with new residents, I can think of books in our library that directly meet their needs and can help them with the exact things that they want to learn.” When Brianna told Matt, a City Mission resident and avid reader, about the project, he jumped at the chance to help. “Personally, I consider it a privilege to be able to work on this project,” he said. “I’m grateful that in this season of my life, God was able to use me to be a piece of the puzzle to help Shelby and her family. I’m glad I was part of that.” When he started working on the library, the books were all in piles on the floor. He worked to categorize, stamp, label, and organize every single book in the library. He volunteered his time on evenings and weekends, working for about six weeks to get the library ready to open. “Books have absolutely been transformational for me in my life. I’m a big believer in the power of books. Absolutely,” he explained. “Shelby saw fit to keep everything neat and organized and to make sure all the books were in good condition. That speaks volumes to me.” Matt is also excited about what the library space could eventually mean for himself and his fellow residents. “The library will provide a place for you to enter into the world of the book and allow the book to enter into your world. To enter that place of imagination. It could also be a place to do homework and study. Right now, there just isn’t that place. It’s tough. You have to scramble to get time and a place to study and focus.” “My hope,” added Shelby, “is that eventually the library can be a quiet space for residents to go. There aren’t too many of those places around campus right now.” Currently, during the COVID pandemic, the library is open primarily online, and only one resident at a time is permitted in the library space. Residents can view the card catalog online and check out up to two books at a time, and Brianna will have the books delivered directly to them. Eventually, once COVID restrictions are lifted, the library will be open for browsing. For one resident in particular, the library has already been a revelation. Lu is a refugee from Taiwan who is still learning to read and speak English. His face lit up when he walked into the library for the first time. He went straight for the kids’ section and starting reading and re-reading Dr. Seuss books out loud, practicing words he doesn’t normally see or say. “The delight on his face was just so genuine,” said Brianna, who was in the library at the time. “It was just a really beautiful moment. We’re giving him a resource he wouldn’t otherwise have.” The library is already proving to be a valuable resource for City Mission residents. And for Shelby and her family, it has already been a healing experience. Saige’s daughter, his aunts and uncles, and his cousins from all across the country needed some avenue to direct all the love they still have for Saige, and this library has been a unifier for them all. “It has been really amazing to connect with people who have donated books to the library and to share Saige’s story with City Mission donors,” she explained. “Saige is the reason I’m connected to the Mission. He is in the fabric of the Mission.” “Saige was so smart and kind and adventurous,” Shelby added. “He would read everything. He had a really good heart. He was so much more than his addiction. I just wish he could have known that.” “Saige struggled with self-worth. He struggled to separate his identity from his addiction,” Shelby said. But when he came to City Mission, everyone treated him like family. “I’m really thankful for what the Mission has been for my family,” she added. “I’m thankful that City Mission is here for our residents, because all of our residents are somebody’s brother or dad or sister.”