“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 We are incredibly grateful for all of our church partners. Together, we are the body of Christ. We are His hands and feet in a world that cries out for help, and the Spirit of the Lord moves through us as one body with one purpose. Over the years, The Bible Chapel has been a great friend and supporter of our ministry. “Our relationship with City Mission goes way back. It pre-dates my time here,” said Pastor Wayne Johnson, who has been with The Bible Chapel for eight years and has acted as their Pastor of Outreach for the past year and a half. Members of The Bible Chapel have long served alongside the Mission in many ways: volunteering on our campus, donating money or food or other items, preaching at our chapel services, teaching classes and Bible Studies, serving on our staff, leading donation drives, and so much more. 2020 was a difficult time for everyone, and in the beginning of the COVID lockdown, there were many people in our community who found themselves hurting, out of work, and uncertain about the future. The Bible Chapel was one of the first churches to reach out to us and ask how they could help. Their South Hills campus opened their doors as a collection site for food and clothing donations and even held donation drives for us. “Their generosity did not end there,” said Shelley Kubincanek, our Manager of Church and Community Relations. In the beginning of the pandemic, when our City Mission Thrift Stores shut down in compliance with statewide COVID regulations, we used many of them as sites to give away bags of food as part of our Samaritan Care food pantry, which is our community outreach program. Thanks to partners like The Bible Chapel, who generously donated to the cause, we were able to give out 4,000 bags in the first two months of the COVID lockdown. “In the beginning of the pandemic,” said Johnson, “it was my assignment to see what we could do to help the community. City Mission was one of the first places I reached out to. We appreciate City Mission and the tremendous ministry they’ve had over the years.” When The Bible Chapel’s annual Vacation Bible School rolled around in August, the needs of City Mission were still on the hearts and minds of their congregation and staff. “VBS is always a major event for us,” Johnson said. “We typically have about 800 kids come to church for that week.” With the pandemic this past summer, they were forced to do things differently to ensure social distancing. Instead of having hundreds of kids at the church, they set up small groups in neighborhoods throughout the area. And instead of focusing their VBS outreach efforts on international missions like they do every year, they focused on helping local communities. “Wayne contacted us to see if their VBS program could hold donation drives to assist with our Samaritan Care food pantries,” Shelley added. “They delivered three truckloads full of nonperishable food, which was enough to supply our pantries for an entire week. We were able to help the community during this most difficult time thanks to the generous members of The Bible Chapel.” “We just really think it’s important to give back to the community,” Johnson explained. “What God blesses us with, He wants us to share with others. That’s an important part of the Christian walk.” With church and community partners like The Bible Chapel, City Mission can put Christ’s teachings into action by helping those in need. Visit www.citymission.org to learn more about City Mission or www.biblechapel.org to learn more about The Bible Chapel.
Sam Kuzmishin, a 16-year-old Sophomore at Winchester Thurston High School, found a unique way to give back to his community and help those in need. One day, a few months ago, he was thinking about all the ways that the COVID pandemic has negatively-impacted our world, our country, and our local communities, and he wanted to find a way to help. “People are losing their jobs,” he said, “and some aren’t able to pay rent. I just wanted to find a way to help as many people as possible get back on their feet.” Sam and his dad, John Kuzmishin, love working on cars together and fixing them up in their garage. “It’s really, really rewarding when you figure out what’s wrong and how you can fix it,” Sam explained. Sam thought maybe he and his dad could take in dilapidated cars, restore them, and offer them at a deep discount to those in need. “The more I thought about it,” he said, “I realized that reliable transportation is such an important step to independence and getting your life back on track. It helps people commute to work, get groceries, take kids to school. And if you don’t have a car you can depend on, it really limits the jobs available to you.” Sam started contacting local nonprofits to find an organization he could work with, and City Mission called him back. “We get calls intermittently from people wanting to donate cars to us,” said City Mission’s Director of Hope Enterprises, Mark Vinoverski. Some of those donated vehicles are not operational. With limited space and no one dedicated to restoring the vehicles, the Mission could only store a limited number of them at any given time. Additionally, as homeless residents transition out of City Mission and into independent living, reliable transportation is often a very important step in their progress, so the Mission was really the perfect fit for Sam’s plan.“John and Sam have a real heart for the Mission,” said Vinoverski. “They really want the cars to go to our residents and help people in need.”A couple of months ago, Sam and his dad picked up their first car from the City Mission warehouse, a 2006 Buick Rainier with 155,000 miles. They hauled the vehicle on a trailer back to their home in Pittsburgh where they have a lift in their garage and a safe space to work. The car had a short circuit on the driver’s side door and a non-functioning air suspension system, among other issues. They purchased a control panel for the door, new suspension air bags, and a new air compressor with their own money and installed them. They also replaced the windshield, fixed non-functioning windshield wipers and performed preventative maintenance.Once the father and son team had restored the vehicle, they brought it back to the staff at the Mission, who already had a resident lined up to buy it. The resident purchased the vehicle, which will help him get to and from work, at a deep discount.“We want the residents to purchase the vehicles, so it’s like a real-life situation for them,” explained Vinoverski. “They learn to save money. They feel like they have ownership. It’s not just handed to them. They earn it.” Sam and his dad already picked up their second car and have begun working on it. Sam is working hard to acquire funding from companies, sponsors, and foundations to help purchase parts and fund the project. He is making contacts, writing grants, and building a website to document the impact their work is having in the community. “We just want to help people in need help themselves…one at a time,” said Sam, “especially during COVID.” Visit www.driveon412.com to learn more about this project. Want to find your own, unique way of making a difference for those in need? Contact City Mission at citymission.org or 724-222-8530 to find ways you can help.
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 his long-time friend, City Mission’s Chief Financial Officer, Denny Kennedy. They had worked together years ago when Kennedy was the CFO at Smith’s company. When Smith and Kennedy 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. We started working right away to make this idea 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 homeless residents living on their campus. So far, the program has supported 15 local restaurants and provided over 7500 total meals for City Mission residents throughout the months of January, February, and now into March. “This is just 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. Major 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 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 Services Manager, Judy Sandy, came on board to organize the project, contact the restaurants, and put together a meal schedule. “It’s exciting,” she said. “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. “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.” Chicco Baccello, a small coffee house, bakery, and deli in Washington, was one of the first restaurants the Mission approached with this idea. Every Tuesday in the month of March, Chicco Baccello is providing lunch for the residents at City Mission by making deli sandwiches made with the highest-quality meats and cheeses along with side dishes like macaroni salad made in-house. “We’re in close proximity to City Mission,” said Lisa Aprea, one of the owners at Chicco Baccello. “We have regulars who stop in that work at the Mission. We’ve participated in their Sweet Sunday event in the past, and we participated again this year. So they know our coffee, our food.” In the beginning, the pandemic hit their business pretty hard. Aprea explained, “We knew we had to adapt. We had to be willing to change the way we did things or we weren’t going to make it. We made online orders available and offered curbside pickup. And our community has been extremely supportive.” When City Mission approached Aprea with the idea, she was excited and grateful. “What a wonderful thing to do to bless small businesses and the residents of City Mission. And it isn’t just about the added revenue we’ll get this month -- what a blessing it is for us to make 100 sandwiches for the residents at the Mission. Our staff is excited to do it.” City Mission is planning to complete this program at the end of the month as in-dining restrictions ease and funding for the project winds down. But you can always help provide meals to those in need at the Mission. Call 724-222-8530 or visit www.citymission.org for more information.
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.”
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.
“This collaboration is a dream come true,” Leah Dietrich, City Mission’s Director of Residential Programs, said of their new collaboration with Centerville Clinics. “Many of our residents come to us with complex medical issues and need help to work through them and get to the root of the issue, which requires follow-up and active care.
A 'Box of Love' is filled with all the contents of a Thanksgiving meal and will be used to feed over 250 families in the community. With your help they will be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal at home!
City Mission Thrift Stores are a critical mission asset, taking donations and helping our community by offering great deals on clothing and other items. But, first and foremost, proceeds from our stores keep City Mission doors open to transform lives from homelessness to independent living! Our Thrift stores offer quality items at bargain prices and by accepting your donations it helps remove clutter from our homes. “Thrift with a Purpose” is real at our thrift stores! Here are examples of how you help City Mission residents - while enjoying exceptional deals whether shopping or providing item donations.
Between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, all gifts made to participating charities via www.wccfgives.org and all designated WCCF Gives check contributions received by 8 p.m. on that day will be increased by part of a $100,000 bonus pool. The minimum contribution is only $25, but donors are welcome to give as much and to as many participating charities as they would like. You can share in the excitement of this special event by supporting City Mission through WCCF Gives.
Many City Mission residents suffer from chronic pain and have turned to opioids and other pain-relieving drugs in the past. For many, this led them down the path of addiction and eventual homelessness. “Chiropractic has been proven to be one of the safest alternatives to decrease pain naturally, without drugs or surgery” he explained. Dr. Carr, who was last year’s recipient of City Mission’s Volunteer of the Year Award, saw the potential for chiropractic services to not only relieve the pain of City Mission residents but potentially change their lives.
Two beautiful, new murals were installed yesterday at the Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House. Five staff members from the State Correctional Institute (SCI) of Fayette came to City Mission to install the canvasses, which had been previously painted by inmates.
Your kids can choose one of our fundraising ideas...Lemonade Stand, Bake Sale, Car Wash or Yard Sale. Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpap can pick up a Mish Kid "Fun" raising Kit at City Mission. Call at (724)-705-7122. Please provide your email address, so we can send you a digital copy of your event flyers.
Sherry lives in the Washington community, within walking distance of City Mission, and though she has never been a resident, she comes almost daily to eat meals, attend chapel services, visit with friends, or pray with residents and staff at the Samaritan Care Center, City Mission’s community outreach.
LCpl Kovacicek was deployed to Iraq in March 2005 with the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines Kilo Company. On Sunday, July 10th 2005 in Hit Iraq, LCpl Ryan Joseph Kovacicek was killed in combat. He was 22 years old when he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He will always remain young in our hearts.
Last year, Dr. Crabtree’s generous donation helped make the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House become a reality, and because of that, City Mission is now able to help homeless veterans in a way we never were before. “I’m happy to be able to give to the Mission because I know that the money is being used to do important and meaningful work. Dr. Crabtree has been a professor of psychology at Washington and Jefferson College for 44 years and a practicing psychologist in Washington County for over three decades. He and his wife, Mary Paige Pillow, have been active financial supporters of the Mission for over 25 years, and he has been a board member for the last three.
On Saturday, January 26, the Lone Pine Ladies Golf Association hosted its fifth annual chili cook-off. All proceeds from the event were donated to City Mission in support of the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. In addition to funds raised at the cook-off, the members of the Ladies Golf Association also collected boxes and boxes of personal items for the veterans, including towels, socks, toothpaste, deodorant, pillowcases, and 22 sets of bed sheets for the 22-bed facility.
On October 25, 2018 friends and supporters of City Mission gathered to celebrate the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the newly renovated Women with Children's Shelter. We are excited and grateful for the newly renovated facility and the opportunity that is available for Women with Children in need to receive programs and services that will change their lives! County Commissioner Diana Irey-Vaughan was the guest speaker at our event. Please read her moving and inspiring words as she calls us all to action to help women and children in our community.
The Cornerstone Care Mobile Unit is parked at City Mission several days this week providing Dental Services to our residents. The mission of Cornerstone Care is to improve the health of its patients and of the residents of the community with special concern for the medically under-served and low-income populations.
On April 23rd at 12:30pm, City Mission of Washington, PA honored Lieutenant Gubernatorial Candidate and County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan with a plaque for her fundraising efforts for their new 22-bed shelter for homeless veterans, the Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House, to open July 3, 2018. City Mission President/CEO Dean Gartland presented Vaughan with an engraved crystal memento inscribed “Disney Goofy Challenge Run for City Mission.”
In 1993 a friend invited Tom Kwiatkowski to go to Billy Graham’s last crusade in Pittsburgh. When Reverend Graham gave the invitation to come to the altar, Tom got out of his seat and went forward. That night he prayed the sinner’s prayer with thousands of other people. On the ride home from the crusade his friend asked how he felt, and his response was that he was tired. Two days later Tom picked up the Bible to read and opened to the gospel of John and the story of Doubting Thomas. His eyes fell on the words of Jesus, “Don’t go on unbelieving but believe.” When Tom read thos