City Mission’s seventh annual Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk, presented by AccuTrex Products, Inc. and benefiting the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House for homeless veterans, will be held at Peterswood Park in Venetia on Saturday, August 6 at 8am. ”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 seven 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. “God’s will is for us to help those who need help – the poor, the lost, and the widowed,” said McCartney on why he started this fundraiser for our veterans. “His grace was so abundant on me, I just felt that I could not do nothing. And by the grace and love of Jesus Christ, we’re now able to help people who we could not help in the past.” This year’s Presenting Sponsor for the event is AccuTrexProducts, 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.“We’re supporting the City Mission’s run to benefit the veterans at the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House,” said Beichner. “And we’re very proud to be a supporter of the race.”“Marty and his wife Judy are long-time supporters of City Mission,” said Sally 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.”Last year, our Veterans Program had a 77% success rate helping homeless veterans to restore their hope and dignity and return to independent living. Recently, when Ed, a Navy veteran, could no longer get up the steps to his apartment due to hip and leg pain, and he had nowhere else to turn, he knew where he needed to go. He had been to City Mission nearly thirty years ago. “I was on a path of destruction,” Ed said. “My life was empty.” When he first came to the Mission, he formed a lifelong relationship with God and turned his life around. Over the years, Ed has come back to the Mission from time to time whenever he would fall on hard times, but his current stay at the Mission is his first stay at the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. “As long as I continue to put God first,” he said, “I know everything will fall into place.”“I’m just really glad we have a facility that meets his needs,” added Dean Gartland, City Mission President/CEO. You can help other veterans just like Ed turn their lives around. Learn more or register today for the seventh annual Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk at www.missionpossiblerun.org.
On Saturday, June 25, City Mission will be hosting an Open House event to celebrate Sally’s House, the new home of our Single Women’s Next Step program. Our Single Women’s Next Step program offers a steppingstone for the single women, who are completing our life-recovery program, by providing support, housing, encouragement, and financial stability as they transition into independent living. The Mission has long wanted a separate facility for the single women in need of our next step program, and that need was recently fulfilled by a very generous donor who is making it possible for us to use this beautiful, historic, Victorian-style home for our next step program. Sally’s House, which was named by the donor in honor of City Mission’s Chief Development Officer Dr. Sally Mounts, will provide the long-sought-after next step facility for women. This new next step facility will accommodate 15 single women and expand our total capacity to house homeless women to 41 beds. We are so incredibly grateful for this opportunity to serve more women on their path from homelessness to independent living. Please consider attending our Open House on Saturday, June 25 from 10am to 4pm on the City Mission campus to learn more about the program and how you can support the work of the Mission. Contact Event Coordinator, Chris Rogers, at 724-222-8530 x283 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to RSVP to the event by June 22.
On Saturday, May 21 from 9am -7pm, our City Mission Thrift Store in Rostraver will be hosting an event to celebrate their ninth anniversary! On that day, everything in the store will be 50% off (except mattresses and Sarris candies), there will be free cake, water and coffee, giveaway prizes, and a Chinese Auction. “You name it, you can find it at our store,” said Thrift Store Manager, Georeen Busch. “You never know what you’re going to find. And our staff is sweet, kind, and helpful. So come on out and see us. You might find a hidden treasure.” Georeen has been with City Mission since 2012 and has been the Manager at the Rostraver store since it first opened its doors in 2013. “I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing all these years,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of good times and met a lot of wonderful people. It’s a very rewarding and humbling job.” In March of 2016, the Greater Rostraver Chamber of Commerce named the Rostraver store business of the month for their impact in the community. 100% of the store’s proceeds go to help the homeless at City Mission. And the store also helps those in need in the community get clothing, shoes, electronics, household items, glassware, and other essentials at discounted prices. Our Rostraver store is located at 1729 Rostraver Road in Belle Vernon, PA and is part of the Rostraver Shopping Center in Rostraver Township. Their store hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm. Visit www.citymission.org/stores to learn more about how you can shop and support City Mission through our seven City Mission Thrift Stores.
Tammy and her son, Richard, recently moved out of City Mission and into their very own place. Tammy first came to the Mission in November of last year from a drug treatment facility. When Tammy came to the Mission, she made it her purpose to regain custody of her son, who had been in the foster system for several years. While staying with us, she worked very hard on her drug and alcohol recovery, earned resume-building certificates at our Career Training and Education Center, and learned soft job skills while working in our Samaritan Care Center – all in an effort to not only better herself but also to reunite with her son. And all of her hard work finally paid off. “I’ll always remember the excitement Tammy had when she came to my office and told me that CYS was placing her child back with her full time,” said Sheila Namy, the Manager of our Women and Children Program. “I had never seen her smile so big as in that moment!” Richard, age 7, moved in with his Mom at our Women with Children Shelter and made himself right at home. “My favorite memory of Richard,” added Namy, “is of him walking around in the shelter dressed like one of the ghostbusters making sure the shelter was safe from ghosts.” Recently, Namy took Tammy and Richard to see their new home, and all three were overwhelmed with emotion. “When I walked with Tammy and Richard up to their new apartment,” said Namy, “and heard her exclaim that she’d never in her life had a place of her own and Richard was running around and around in the yard with excitement as he looked around at his new neighborhood. It’s moments like that that make every long workday so worth it!” So Tammy and Richard are starting a new chapter in their life, and they’re doing it together. The staff and residents of our Women with Children Shelter, prayed over them as they packed up and moved to their very own place for the first time together. “Our Mission family is really gonna miss them,” added Namy, “but we’re so happy they’ve found a new home.” When Tammy reunited with her son, Richard, it was a dream come true. Your support made it possible. Visit www.citymission.org to see how you can help make miracles happen at City Mission.
Ed never touched any kind of drug until he was 50 years old. And then, in just 18 months, his sudden addiction destroyed a 30-year career and a 28-year marriage. He had a beautiful home, a loving family, and a very successful career in the tire industry. But it was a very stressful job. He also had serious health problems kick up along with some unresolved childhood trauma that was resurfacing, and he was burnt out. One day, one of his co-workers offered him something to help him relax. Ed took his first ever hit of a drug and said, “Where have you been all my life.” He gave his wife and daughter the house and made sure they had enough money. Then, he spent everything else he had on drugs. He was stuck in active addiction for 18 months. It ruined his life. Ed was born in Italy. His father was an Army Officer, and his family moved every few years. Tragically, Ed’s childhood was wracked with physical and mental abuse, creating trauma that would stay with him for the rest of his life. After graduating from Bishop-Canevin High School, he went to college at Wheeling University. A few years later, the owner of a local, independent tire company took him under his wing and taught him the business from the ground up. Eventually, Ed was running the whole business. He expanded the company from 6 locations when he started working there to 23 locations by the time it was sold to a national chain. After his initial, 18-month burst of drug abuse, he got clean and stayed clean for 12 years. He worked odd jobs and sustained his recovery even though he never fully worked the steps. “I thought I was connected with a God of my understanding,” he remembered. “But I never really gave my will over to Christ.” He relapsed in 2019 and then again in 2021. “2021 was a disastrous year,” he explained. “I was in a pit. I cried out to God. I just wanted to deaden my pain and forget.” He wanted to die. He went on a bender with the intention of blowing out his heart, and he ended up in the hospital for several weeks on suicide watch. When he got out of the hospital, he came to City Mission, and it was difficult at first. “I had no idea what to expect,” he admitted. And his past abuse bubbled to the surface yet again. “All men spooked me,” he said. His father had abused him for six years, so living in a men’s shelter was very challenging. “But what I found here when I came was an extremely organized program,” he added. “And the building is cleaner than most hospital rooms. Being here isn’t a consequence like I had originally thought. It’s a blessing. I’m overwhelmed with everybody on staff. They all know the Scriptures so well. It’s unfathomable to me at times. The staff here has been instrumental in helping me shape my understanding of the Bible and my relationship with God.” “Before I came to the Mission, I had no money,” he explained. “I was spiritually void. I had no place to live. I had suicidal thoughts, and I was taking the cowardly way out by using. But the best decision God made for me is when he directed me here. I know now that I can’t live my will anymore. I have to live in God’s will. And I profess that in my life.” At City Mission, Ed has turned his life around. He realized the importance of giving back. “The guys who are successful in this program are good at giving back,” he said. “I want to be of service and give back what the Mission has given to me.” Ed has become our librarian at the City Mission Library in Memory of Saige Knapp, where he keeps the books organized and manages the lending and return of books. “It’s wonderful,” Ed said of his time at the library. “The Mission trusts me to keep everything organized. And it’s quiet here. It can get noisy upstairs in the dorms. A little peace and quiet is a really important thing.”
“I love you guys,” City Mission’s Work Readiness Manager, Matt Dorn, told a group of residents as he closed the sliding door of the City Mission van before it pulled out of the parking lot and headed down the road to our Vocational Training Center. Part of Matt’s job at the Mission is to get the residents off to their work readiness assignments every morning. “There is so much love here at City Mission. That’s why it works,” he said. “They love you from the gate no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done. They love you until you can love yourself. That’s what the Mission gave to me, and that’s what I want to give back to these guys.” In 2017, Matt was homeless. His parents had divorced when he was young, and he ended up being on his own at a young age, which left him with abandonment issues. So he always worked very hard to fit in. For him, that meant parties. At one point, he had a very successful job at a bank in his hometown of New Kensington. He had a good education, a good job, and he owned his own home. But his house quickly became the party house for him and his friends, and he began to fall deeper and deeper into drugs. Eventually, his drug use spiraled out of control and ruined all the good things in his life. He lost everything, and he ended up living on the streets. He would sleep at a 24-hour grocery store and steal cough syrup to stave off withdrawal symptoms. “For 8 years, I was in a fog,” he said. “I was just existing.” He went to rehab many times, but it never took. He even ended up spending time in jail for retail theft. “You’re not going to quit until you’re ready,” he explained. “Jesus has to look down on you and give you the grace to quit.” He was miserable and alone on the streets of New Kensington, so he moved to Pittsburgh and lived in a homeless community downtown, where his addiction actually escalated. At one point, Matt went into a porta-potty by himself to do drugs, and he got stuck there for 9 hours, because he was convinced that a bunch of people were waiting outside to attack him. Matt knew he needed to change his life. Finally, he came to the Mission in August of 2017, and the love City Mission poured out on him helped him change his life. Through the work readiness program at the Mission, Matt was introduced to Dave Foster, who at that time was the Mission’s kitchen supervisor. “In my early days at the Mission, I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t want to live,” Matt remembered. “But Dave Foster helped me care about life again. He taught me how to be a man and to build healthy boundaries. I’ll never forget it. I can never pay him back. I get emotional just talking about it.” It was the Mission’s work readiness program and the relationships he built through the program that started to turn Matt’s life around. And now, ironically, he is running the program. “I truly believe in my heart that God led me here,” he said. “I want to give back the way Dave Foster gave back to me when I first got here.” Since coming to the Mission, Matt has also met the love of life, Becky, and they are now happily married. City Mission also helped her when she was in need. She is now on staff at the Mission as well, and they are both giving back and showing love to those who are too hurt to love themselves. In addition to managing the Work Readiness program, Matt also runs our eBay Thrift Store, case manages a group of residents, and teaches three classes per week at City Mission. Becky is our RSS Supervisor for our Women and Women with Children shelters, and she also is the Intake Coordinator for those shelters as well. “The Mission saved my life two times,” Matt said. “Everyone on staff wants to help you. Everyone shows you love. It’s a family. I feel like part of the family.” You can become part of the City Mission family too. Visit www.citymission.org to see how you can partner with us or contact us at 724-222-8530 if you need help like Matt did.
City Mission has a new Volunteer Manager! Jason Johnson has been employed at the Mission for almost 9 years and has worked in nearly every department on campus. “I just want to help people, and I want God to continue to grow my heart,” he said, explaining his willingness to go wherever he is needed at the Mission. “In whatever role I’m in, I just want to serve and honor God. Everything happens through God’s hands, and I just feel blessed to be a part of it.” Jason grew up in South Franklin and went to McGuffey High School. After graduation, he attended West Virginia University and Waynesburg College, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. Jason began his career at the Mission nine years ago as a Case Manager, working directly with residents. “I love working one-on-one with the residents and helping them walk through the barriers that are keeping them from living an independent life,” Jason said. “I wouldn’t be here if wasn’t for the residents. Everything I do, it’s always been about helping people.” After nearly a year as a case manager, Jason became the supervisor for the counselors on staff before being promoted to the Manager of Men’s and Women’s Services. From there, he moved into a position as the Director of Operations, where he oversaw our Samaritan Care Outreach Center, kitchen, maintenance, janitorial, vehicles, security, and pretty much anything involving the City Mission facilities. For a while, he was even the Director of our Vocational Training Center. The fact that Jason has worked in every aspect of the Mission is certainly an advantage for him in his role as our Manager of Volunteers. “Because I’ve worked in every department,” he explained, “I know the intricacies of what makes the Mission run, and I know what the residents need. And it helps me to know what people in different positions do and what help they need with.” What Jason likes most about working at City Mission is being able to help people. “I just love watching our residents find Christ and succeed. I love watching lives change and families change. I’m blessed even being just a small part of that story no matter what role I’m in,” he said. “And when you serve others, you always get blessed in return. You always get more back from the residents than you give to them.” And he is excited to jump headlong into his new position managing our volunteers. “My goal is for this department to become a ministry,” he explained. “I want to expand the volunteer base and create new opportunities for volunteers to partner with the Mission. I hope to have some upcoming outreach projects with volunteers helping us to do things out in the community.” Currently, our most urgent volunteer needs are help in our Thrift Stores, at our warehouse, and in the childcare center at our Women with Children Shelter. If you are interested in volunteering at the Mission, visit our website https://www.citymission.org/ways-to-help/volunteer. You can complete the volunteer application online and Jason will get back to you. “When a volunteer comes to the Mission,” Jason said, “I want them to feel loved and cared about and like they are part of the family at the Mission. And I want them to know who important they are to the work of the Mission.”
City Mission’s Samaritan Care Center provides supportive services to low-income individuals and families in our community. Their food pantry is open to the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-3pm. Additionally, on the first Tuesday of every month, representatives from Dress for Success Pittsburgh and Blueprints will be available at that time to provide support and make referrals for those in need. Heather Howe is the Mobile Services Coordinator South for Dress for Success Pittsburgh. She is always looking for ways to help more women in Washington, Greene, and Fayette Counties. The mission of Dress of Success Pittsburgh is to empower women who are entering or returning to the workforce in Southwestern Pennsylvania. “It’s about helping women feel more confident,” Howe said at the City Mission Chapel this past Tuesday. “We help them find something good to wear that they feel good in whether they’re going to job interviews, starting a new job, or going to church. We want people to be happy.” Howe drives the Dress for Success van up to the City Mission campus. When the weather is nice, she sets up the clothes outside, and any woman can walk up, complete some paperwork, and pick out some clothes. Each woman also gets a voucher for a haircut. When the weather is iffy, she sets up inside the City Mission Chapel. Lexi Eloshway is a Head Start Home-based Educator for Blueprints. She can help you enroll your family in the Head Start program, which helps kids, ages 3-5, prepare for school. The program also works to build strong parent-child relationships. “The parent is the child’s first and most important teacher,” Eloshway explained. The program uses a “Parents as Teachers” curriculum to help build strong family relationships and create a strong foundation for a child’s education. Eloshway can also make referrals for Blueprints’ other supportive services like rental assistance and WIC. City Mission would like to thank Dress for Success Pittsburgh and Blueprints for helping to create a web of support for our residents and those in need in the community. You can also become a part of that network of support by giving of you time, talents, and treasure. Visit www.citymission.org to discover the ways that you can help.
Finding Ways to Help Although rising Covid numbers in our area along with some positive cases among our staff and resident population have caused us to temporarily close our Warming Center and Cold Weather Shelter, we are still finding ways to help those in need during these, cold, winter months. "No one is going to get turned away," said City Mission President/CEO, Dean Gartland. “We’re working diligently to keep people safe and warm.” For those in need of emergency shelter in the cold weather, we work to find alternative solutions. We refer them to county agencies and other shelters, make phone calls on their behalf, purchase bus tickets, and offer transportation for those we cannot keep in our shelters overnight. We also contact other local agencies who may be able to help, and when necessary, we secure hotel rooms for those in need until a long-term solution can be found. “But if it’s the end of the day, or the weekend, and they can’t connect with the county resources, we are the people who bridge that gap,” said Gartland. In addition to these resources, we also offer hot meals, warm clothes, blankets, toiletries, canned food, and possibly even medical care to those who come to us for help. The safety of everyone in the community is our top priority, and we are working hard to help those in need while also doing our very best to keep staff, residents, volunteers, and the community healthy and safe. “Unfortunately, the cold weather came at the same time Covid is spiking,” said Gartland. “But we’re still going to make sure that everyone’s needs are met.” If you or anyone you know need help to stay out of the cold this winter, please continue to reach out to us at 724-222-8530. We are here to help during this difficult time.
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 documents them here - with a quarterly update - so that we may show our appreciation to all the parties.
Mission BBQ is a barbecue restaurant chain that honors and supports American military, police, firefighters, and first responders. They first opened their doors in Glen Burnie, MD on September 11, 2011, and since then (at least as of 2021), they had expanded to 109 locations in nine different states. The Pittsburgh location of Mission BBQ in Robinson Township has been supporting City Mission’s veterans’ program from the very first day we opened our Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House back in July of 2018. Annie Thieman, Mission BBQ’s Catering Manager, was on our campus the day of the Grand Opening, providing lunch to all of our guests who came out that day to celebrate the opening of our new Veterans House. “At Mission BBQ we strive to serve those who serve,” Thieman said in a statement. “Our partnership with City Mission’s Veterans Program is one that is incredibly near and dear to our hearts. From the day their doors opened and every day since then, we admire and appreciate everything the team at City Mission does to support and help our American Heroes” City Mission Manager of Veterans Services, Steve Adams, is extremely grateful for that partnership. “Mission BBQ has been with us from day one,” he explained, “and they’ve continued to support us ever since.” They regularly deliver large, buffet-style meals to the residents at our Veterans House, and they let us keep the leftover food. They also occasionally invite our veterans to come out to the Pittsburgh restaurant, and they feed them dinner in their private dining room. Recently, Mission BBQ found a unique way to honor our veterans. They strive to serve authentic barbecue in a patriotic dining room filled with “tributes to those who have made our country great” – according to their website. This is often in the form of military unit patches, embroidered patches that soldiers wear on their uniform to demonstrate their service and the particular unit they served under. In 2018, Adams created a unit patch for residents of our Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House to wear with pride as a symbol of their commitment to restoring their lives at City Mission. To honor City Mission and our commitment to serving veterans, Mission BBQ placed Steve Adams’ personal military patch and the Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House patch in a prominent place above the door frame at their main entrance. “It’s an honor to have our patches up there where everyone can see them,” Adams said. Thank you, Mission BBQ, for your continued support of our veterans! To learn how you can support the residents of our Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House, please visit https://www.citymission.org/support/veterans.
“I can’t sleep at night if I know someone is outside in the cold,” said Mary Pillow, a clinical social worker in Washington. “That was instilled in me by my parents when I was very young. They taught me to never walk by anyone in need, and my sister and I still live by that to this day.” In that spirit, Pillow and her husband, Dr. Michael Crabtree, a clinical Psychologist and Psychology professor at Washington and Jefferson College, recently made a very kind and generous donation to City Mission. In honor of their gift, the iconic City Mission Chapel will be named after Pillow’s parents. “Mary’s parents really embodied the spirit of giving throughout their entire lives,” said Dr. Crabtree, explaining why he and his wife decided to name the chapel after her parents. “They would never want to be applauded. They would want to be humbled. But they represent the spirit of giving that matches the Christ-centered work of the City Mission.” The newly-christened “Porter Pillow and Peggie Beaver-Pillow Chapel,” the “Pillow Chapel” for short, will be dedicated with a special ceremony on Thursday, April 12 at 5pm in the chapel, located at 84 West Wheeling Street. “The chapel is the cornerstone of the work of the Mission,” added Dr. Crabtree, who is also the Vice President of City Mission’s Board of Directors. “It was the only building left standing after the fire that devastated the Mission in 2015. And I think the symbolism of that building on that street is powerful, because it shows that the Mission is putting Christ at the forefront of all the good work they do in the community.” Mary Pillow was born in Tennessee, but her father, who was an engineer for Procter & Gamble, moved the family to Tunkhannock in northeastern PA for his work. Pillow was raised in Tunkhannock and still returns every year for their annual carnival, because she still feels such a connection to the place. “It was a beautiful place to grow up,” she said of her childhood home. “It was idyllic. I had the best childhood.” She has vivid memories of going to church with her parents when she was a child. “I was a little kid,” she remembered, “and I would stand next to my dad at church. He loved to sing. He was a very big, tall man. And he would always sway when he sang.” The first time Dr. Crabtree and Mary Pillow attended church together, he asked her, “Why are you swaying?” And they both laughed. The lessons our parents teach us in childhood are incredibly powerful and impact us as adults in ways that we do not even understand. The most important lesson Mary Pillow learned from her parents is to help those in need. It is that spirit that inspires her and Dr. Crabtree to support City Mission and the hungry and hurting in our community. They have supported City Mission since 1995. “City Mission really hits the mark of the work of Christ in this world,” Dr. Crabtree said, explaining why he and his wife have continued to give to the Mission. “And the whole staff really embodies that spirit.” “From top to bottom,” Mary Pillow added, “this place is the authentic, real, spiritual deal. The people who work here are the best people in the world.” They give, because they want to support the work of the Mission and to carry on the legacy of Pillow’s parents to help those in need, but they also give to encourage and inspire others to support the Mission as well. “This is a great time to get involved with City Mission,” said Dr. Crabtree. “The Mission works hard to serve the entire community, but right now there is a growing need in our area for homeless women. And the Mission is currently working to address that need.” You too can support City Mission at www.citymission.org. Your gift can transform the lives of those in our community who are homeless, hungry, and hurting.