Escape to Havana Fall Gala

graphic representing City Mission's Havana Fall Gala cancellation

City Mission’s 2nd Annual Fall Gala has been Officially Cancelled

Thank you so much for your interest in City Mission’s Fall 2019 Gala.

Unfortunately, we will be cancelling the “Escape to Havana” Gala this year due to critical summer budget shortages. We have been quite transparent  about our need for urgent funding over the past few months, and feel a Gala at this time involves considerable upfront expense that we can’t currently justify.

Hopefully we can try an event like this in the future.

July 17, 2019
Susan Gartland - Social Media Manager
Sue Gartland
Social Media Manager
Sue has a vast career in gospel rescue missions adding great value to the City Mission team. Sue has been in many roles in the mission and is always filling in where she is needed - which is A LOT!
sgartland@citymission.org

Recent Articles

Mission Possible VII

Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House
July 1, 2022

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.

City Mission to Expand Services for Homeless Women

Sally's House
June 17, 2022

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 crogers@citymission.org with questions or to RSVP to the event by June 22.

"You Name it, You Can Find it"

Rostraver Store Manager, Georeen Busch
May 13, 2022

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.

"Hope is Contagious"

Clean Slate Day
April 1, 2022

On Friday, April 1 from 10am-2pm at the City Mission Chapel, Senator Camera Bartolotta along with City Mission, Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid, and the Washington County Bar Association all came together to host a free legal clinic for City Mission residents and eligible community members. The purpose of the “Clean Slate Day” event was to help City Mission residents and eligible members of the community to obtain expungements or pardons for criminal records. “We need to put people on a path to get back to the workplace, back to their family, and back to life,” said Senator Bartolotta. “We need to remove barriers so people in our community can live happy and meaningful lives.” An expungement is a legal court order that removes a criminal record from public view when appropriate, which helps to give a second chance to those who have turned their lives around. Courts can also consider “limited access” requests to shield non-violent misdemeanor convictions from public view, so long as the person making the request has received no additional convictions for the past 10 years. At Friday’s Clean Slate Day event, there were volunteer attorneys on hand to work one-on-one with individuals to help them navigate the expungement process. “A criminal record is a very real barrier to employment for our residents,” said City Mission Manager of Career Services, Brianna Kadlecik. And sustainable employment is a vital piece of the puzzle for them to get back to independent living. But a clean slate does not just help with employment. Kadlecik has seen criminal records create barriers for our residents to obtain housing, financial aid for education, and even a driver’s license – all things that could help to clear a path for them to a better life. “It’s a beautiful thing,” Kadlecik said of the Clean Slate Day event. “We have 11 City Mission residents in attendance today. Residents who have attended in the past have been able to get answers to things they didn’t think they would ever be able to get answers to.” For Brian Gorman, the Executive Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid, Clean Slate Day is about giving people a second chance. “Everybody who comes here is looking to better themselves in some way,” he explained. “They’re looking for a job or a higher-income job. They could also be trying to go to school or to obtain housing, and their criminal record is preventing them from achieving those goals. So it not only gives people hope and redemption, but it also gives them tangible things that can help them create a better life.” If those in attendance at the Clean Slate Day event were not eligible for expungements, there were also volunteer pardon coaches from the Washington County Pardon Project on hand to help walk them through the process for applying for a pardon with the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons at no cost. The process can take from one to three years to complete, but nonviolent misdemeanor and felony convictions can be pardoned if an applicant demonstrates a change in his or her life since the arrest along with an important need for the pardon, such as increasing employment opportunities. Governor Tom Wolf has pardoned nearly 2,000 applicants during his tenure as Governor of Pennsylvania. Kyle Duff is the Project Coordinator for the Washington County Pardon Project. He works to recruit applicants and team them up with volunteer coaches to guide them through the process. “The Pardon Project is a connection that helps people with criminal records overcome the barriers associated with their background,” he explained. “Hope is the most important part of this whole thing,” he added. “Hope is contagious. It can overcome fear and desperation.” Duff explained that the Pardon Project is such a vital part of Washington County life, because the county has become such a hub for the recovery community. “People come here from all over the state and all over the country for a chance at a new life. And many of them stay and build a life here. They get jobs and build careers and start families here. They’re become part of our community.” The Pardon Project helps to give them a chance at a better life, which benefits the whole community, because the better they do in their new lives here in Washington County, the more they invest back into our local economy. They buy homes and cars. They help create a reliable workforce. They volunteer. They go to church. And ultimately, they help to strengthen the fabric of our community. “It’s great to see so many volunteers here who really want to help,” said Senator Bartolotta at the Clean Slate Day event. “They know how cumbersome it can be, and they are here to help people stay on the right path, to stay focused on their goals.” She added, “There absolutely is hope! And there are lots of people who can help. Just pick up the phone.” For more information about getting your record expunged, applying for a pardon, or attending the next Clean Slate Day, you can contact Senator Bartolotta’s senate office in Washington at 724-225-4380 or the Pardon Project at pardonme@splas.org. You can also visit www.spla.org to learn more about how Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid can help you.

Clean Slate Day at City Mission

Clean Slate Day
March 25, 2022

Sen. Camera Bartolotta, together with The City Mission in Washington, Pa., Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid, and the Washington County Bar Association will host a free clinic, “Clean Slate Day,” for expungements or pardons of criminal records on Friday, April 1, for residents of the City Mission homeless shelter and eligible members of the public. Clean Slate Day will take place at the City Mission from 10 a.m. to 2p.m. at the City Mission on 84 West Wheeling Street in Washington. City Mission residents and eligible members of the public can meet with the volunteers beginning at 10 a.m. Pre-registration is requested, but walk-ins will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. “People who have made mistakes but have worked to turn their lives around should not be penalized for the remainder of their lives because the expungement or pardon process can seem overwhelming or confusing. This event is about ensuring those individuals who have earned their second chance have the necessary resources to overcome barriers and achieve the greatest success legally possible. That is why I support initiatives like Clean Slate Day and have advocated for a number of criminal justice reform measures to streamline reentry to the workforce while protecting public safety,” said Sen. Bartolotta. An expungement is a legal court order that removes a criminal record from public view when appropriate. Courts can also consider “limited access” requests to shield from public view non-violent misdemeanor convictions, so long as the person making the request has received no additional convictions for the past 10 years. If someone is ineligible for expungement, they can submit a pardon application to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons at no cost. Though it takes much longer for a pardon to be granted – one to three years – nonviolent misdemeanor and felony convictions can be pardoned if an applicant demonstrates a change in his or her life since the arrest along with an important need for the pardon, such as increasing employment opportunities. In 2021, a group of public officials, along with social and legal services leaders, formed the Pardon Project of Washington County to identify high quality pardon applicants and match them with “pardon coaches” to help them complete and submit applications. To date, the project has screened more than 80 candidates and has matched more than 20 of them with coaches. To be eligible for the project, one must have a Washington County record or be a county resident, and they must have completed probation or parole at least three years ago for a crime that is not a violent felony and does not involve sexual offender registration. Volunteers will have pardon applications on hand to help eligible attendees get the process started. More information about the pardon project can be found at https://spla.org/pardon. Brian Gorman, executive director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid, argues that expunging, sealing or pardoning a criminal record is a win-win for the individual and the community. “Removing the barrier of a criminal record for a reformed person increases their employment and income opportunities while boosting an employer’s workforce, providing multiple benefits to the public’s economy. Well over 90% of people who contact us about their prior record are looking for a job or a better job.” The City Mission’s Legal Clinic has joined with Legal Aid and the Bar Association for Expungement Days in 2017, 2019 and 2021, and approximately 60 people attended on average. In addition to residents of the City Mission, members of the public also are welcome to attend Clean Slate Day, and those with a total household income of 187.5% of the federal poverty guidelines or below are eligible for free legal aid. The Washington County Bar Association’s volunteer attorneys will be available at the event to discuss other legal resources and referral options for those who are not income-eligible for assistance. For information and to pre-register for April 1 Clean Slate Day, contact SW PA Legal Aid at 724-225-6170 or 800-846-0871. Information on removing criminal records also is available at https://spla.org or by contacting Southwestern PA Legal Aid by email at legalservices@splas.org.

Sweet Sunday is Back, Live and In-person

Sweet Sunday
February 11, 2022

City Mission is excited to return to the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe on Sunday, February 27 for the 28th Annual Sweet Sunday Dessert Festival presented by MPLX. This year’s in-person event will feature 20 local dessert vendors, beautiful auction baskets, top-notch entertainment, and kids’ games and activities throughout the day from 12-5pm. Sweet Sunday is City Mission’s largest annual fundraiser, with all proceeds going to support the Mission’s life-changing programs and services for the homeless. And the event just seems to get bigger and better every year. “My favorite part of Sweet Sunday is seeing the entire community come together to sponsor, provide sweets, share their talents, contribute auction items, volunteer, and enjoy the festivities—all to help our homeless neighbors! It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully generous the people, corporations, churches, and civic groups in this region really are,” said City Mission’s Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts. The event will start at noon. The incomparable Pat O’Brien will once again emcee. Entertainment is booked through 5pm, culminating with a performance from Scott Blasey, lead singer of The Clarks, which starts at 4pm. Sweets will be available all day, as supplies last, from various local dessert vendors in three categories: professional, amateur, and youth. Celebrity judges will select their favorite sweet in each category, and you will get to vote on your favorite as well for the people’s choice award. Wonderful auction baskets will be available at the event to bid on, and the café will be on-site for you to purchase food, drinks, and snacks. Admission tickets can be purchased at the door. They are $5 apiece or $20 for a family of four or more. Sweet Sunday Dough, which can be used to purchase the desserts, and auction tickets, which can be used to bid on auction items, can also be purchased at the door. There are also plenty of new and exciting things in store for this year’s event. “What’s new this year is that the major event will be held in person,” explained Dr. Mounts. “But we still have a limited number of things available online—Sweets Sampler boxes and Auction baskets—for those who want to stay home. 200 sweets boxes will be reserved for pick-up orders and can be ordered online now through Friday, February 25. And 45 auction items are available for bidding online now through the 25th as well and can be picked up by auction winners the day of the event at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southpointe. Spots in the parking lot will be marked-off for pick-up. You can access these online options at our website: https://www.citymission.org/support/sweet-sunday. COVID precautions will also be in place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southpointe to ensure the health and safety of all guests, volunteers, and staff. “We are taking all necessary precautions to make this a safe event,” said City Mission’s new Event Manager, Chris Rogers. “All volunteers and staff will be wearing masks. Vendors will be wearing masks as well as gloves. Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the event at various locations.” “We are also spreading out the layout to provide more social distancing and providing clear 2’ by 4’ shields for each Sweets vendor, and encouraging everyone to wear masks,” added Mounts. So be a smart cookie and donut miss out on this flan-tastic opportunity for you and your whole family to have a fun Sunday afternoon while supporting the work of City Mission. Go to: https://www.citymission.org/support/sweet-sunday for more information.

Up and Running - Wayne Runs Marathon for City Mission

Wayne
September 29, 2021

"Nobody runs a marathon without a good reason, because it's 26.2 miles, and who would do that," said Wayne Heckman, the Manager of Clinical Services for City Mission. For months, Wayne has been a training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon, which will be run on Sunday, October 17. He has been a runner since he was a kid and has already completed seven full marathons. He explains his reason for running. "I like to run marathons, because it's a way to test myself and push the boundaries of my physical fitness, and it also brings peace to my mind." Wayne also has another reason for running. He is working to raise support for City Mission, an organization that he knows is doing good in the world, because he works there every day, and he sees lives being transformed. Last year, he ran a virtual marathon to support City Mission. He mapped out his own route starting and ending at the Mission, and his co-workers ran water stations for him all the way out to Canonsburg and back. He was able to raise over $1,000 for the Mission. This year, the Pittsburgh Marathon was again run virtually, so he decided to run in the Detroit marathon, which will be run in person. He previously completed the Detroit marathon once before and is excited for the opportunity to go back. He is also excited for the opportunity to fundraise for City Mission, a cause that is near and dear to his heart. “City Mission does really important work,” he said. “A lot of times, when people come to the Mission, this is the last place. They’re at the end of their rope. They have nowhere else to go. And City Mission provides them not only with food, housing, and clothing but also with educational opportunities, employment opportunities, 12-step recovery training, spiritual training, and all different types of training and skills to help them be able to leave here successfully and then not end up back here again.” “When someone gives to City Mission, it’s really going to people who are in the most need,” he added. “I promise you that your donations will go to a good cause and really make a difference in people’s lives.” Please support his incredible efforts and the life-changing work of the Mission at Wayne’s fundraising page: https://bit.ly/2W4YpQu

A Passion in My Heart

Sherry Rorison, Manager of Women with Children Services
August 13, 2021

“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!

Open For Business

ribbon cutting
July 22, 2021

“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.

Thrift With a Purpose

clothing aisle in thrift store
July 8, 2021

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.

Mission Possible VI

Mission Possible Image
July 1, 2021

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.

New Thrift Store to Open in July

Brian and Mark discuss new store sign
May 20, 2021

City Mission plans to open a new Thrift Store and Donation Center in Monongahela, with a grand opening ceremony tentatively-scheduled for mid-July. Late, last summer City Mission closed their former Monongahela location. “It was a good building and a good location,” said Brian Johansson, City Mission’s Chief Operating Officer. “But someone else bought the building, so we had to move out.” But the Mission wanted to maintain its presence in the town. “We have a good customer-base here,” Johansson added, “and I think they were sad to see us go.” So City Mission purchased a building at 211 West Main Street just a few blocks from where the old store used to be and began renovations on their seventh Thrift Store location. It marks the first time City Mission has purchased a building for the purpose of opening a thrift store. Revenue generated from sales at all of City Mission’s Thrift Stores support the life-transforming programs and services at the Mission, helping to restore the homeless to independent living. The seven Thrift Stores generate about one-third of the overall yearly funds for the Mission. Since City Mission receives no government funding, the revenue generated by the Thrift Stores helps create a sustainability plan and a consistent revenue source. So the new Monongahela store is part of a crucial enterprise that is integral to City Mission’s work in the community. In addition to generating revenue, City Mission’s Thrift Stores also create a vital vocational training ground for the Mission’s residents. Donated items are sent to the Mission’s warehouse on Sheffield Street where residents work alongside staff and volunteers to sort and prepare the items to be sold in the stores. Here, the residents learn valuable job skills like teamwork, communication, responsibility, and giving and receiving feedback. They also earn resume-boosting certificates such as forklift operation. Some of the residents are even helping in the renovations of the new Monongahela store to get it up and running before the Grand Opening. “We’re trying to use as many volunteers in the renovation as possible,” Johansson explained. Volunteers, Bob, a retired union carpenter, and his wife, Janet, have donated their time and talents to build a closet for the new HVAC unit as well as a donation sorting room. They also helped to fix up a staff kitchen and bathroom. Tom Kennedy, a retired construction project manager for UPMC, is also volunteering his time and expertise to the project. “Tom has great experience,” Johansson noted. “And he offered to help us out. He stops by to check in every week.” Kennedy is also working with his contacts to find skilled volunteers to help with projects like replacing lights and installing security cameras. The building where the new store will be located was once a McCrory’s Department Store. Since then, it was occupied by a flooring store called The Finishing Touch, and then it sat empty for three years before being purchased by the Mission. Fifteen years ago, there was a fire that damaged much of the upstairs, but there were no structural issues for the Mission to contend with during the renovation. Johansson noted the great potential of the Mission owning a building with so much space in the floors directly above the store. Eventually, once repairs are completed, the upper floors could be rented as apartments or office space to generate even further revenue for the Mission’s life-changing programs. Or they could potentially be used as housing for residents who graduate from the Mission’s program. “There’s great potential upstairs,” Johansson suggested. “Down the road, it could be really good for the residents.” Already, City Mission has installed a brand-new HVAC system, created a gravel lot behind the building along Railroad Street (which, according to Mark Vinoverski, City Mission’s Director of Hope Enterprises, could potentially have up to 12-14 parking spots), and built a back deck where the loading dock will eventually be located. Additionally, the Mission is planning to build a brand-new front entrance and a matching entrance in the back. Improvements are also being made to the storefront. Working with the Monongahela Area Historical Society, the Mission has chosen paint colors and improvements that help maintain the historical integrity of the building. Especially appealing will be the new store sign. “It’s going to be an old Woolworth-style sign with gold letters on a blue backdrop,” said Vinoverski. There will be gooseneck lights shining down on the letters. “It’s going to be a real classy sign.” There is currently a great need for volunteers at City Mission’s Thrift Stores and Donation Centers. For more information, visit www.citymission.org or contact Sheila Namy, City Mission’s Director of Volunteers at snamy@citymission.org or 724-705-7137.

Staff Spotlight

Katie Mason, Event Coordinator
February 25, 2021

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!

Sweet Sunday at Home

Cupcakes at Sweet Sunday
February 4, 2021

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 kmason@citymisison.org.

Scott Blasey to Perform at Sweet Sunday

Scott Blasey
January 13, 2021

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.

Fifth Annual Run for Homeless Veterans Goes Virtual

runner cross the finish line at the Mission Possible IV Run
July 14, 2020

For the fifth consecutive year, Northwood Charitable Foundation is hosting the Mission Possible 5K Run/1 Mile Walk, benefiting City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. Due to COVID-19 and for the safety of all participants, volunteers, and staff, the event will be held virtually this year. Runners can register at www.missionpossiblerun.org between now and August 8. Then, they simply map out their own 5K or 1-mile route anywhere they want and run any time between August 1-15. Runners are asked to wear red, white, and blue and post photos on social media, tagging City Mission and using #missionpossiblerun. All proceeds from the race, with Northwood Charitable Foundation matching up to $10,000, support life-transformation for the 22 veterans who live at City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. The house opened in 2018 to provide services and programs targeted specifically to meet the unique needs of homeless veterans. "In this trying and troubling time, we know two things,” said Jeff McCartney, a local realtor and member of City Mission’s Board of Directors who has chaired the Mission Possible event for the past five years. “One is that the homeless Veterans need our help more than ever. And second and most importantly, we know through spirit and truth that all things are possible in Christ Jesus. He is our rock and our Redeemer." Many of the residents of the Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House suffered a great deal before arriving at City Mission, but after entering the veterans’ program, many have been able to restore their hope and confidence. “City Mission gave me a sense of self-worth and put me back in touch with the Lord,” said Tim, an Air Force Veteran who came to City Mission after breaking his hip. “At the Crabtree House, we have confidence and self-respect. We’re all brother veterans, all working together for the betterment of all. I’m grateful to be able to have a sense of pride in something. And we take pride in that house.”The US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that over 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night in the United States, and according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans are 50% more likely to be homeless than other Americans. “The Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House is a critical component to the healing process for our veteran population,” said Dean Gartland, President/CEO of City Mission. “Having our veterans living together and supporting one another is the best way for veterans to obtain lasting results.” Register at www.missionpossiblerun.org between now and August 8 to help homeless veterans.About City Mission: For over 75 years, City Mission has sheltered, healed, and restored the homeless to independent living—without discrimination. City Mission’s comprehensive program addresses both short-term needs like food and shelter, and long-term needs, including drug and alcohol counseling, mental health and medical treatment, legal aid, and employment training. City Mission’s goal is to help each man, woman, mother with children, or veteran who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society. With your help, we can help our residents renew their lives.