Giving an Unforgettable Easter

Natalie Grasso, age 7, prepares an Easter basket for a child in our Women with Children Shelter

Young Donor Gives Back to Kids at City Mission

Seven-year-old Natalie Grasso came to our 29th Annual Sweet Sunday event in February to have a great time and enjoy the delicious treats.  After the event, she sat down to have a conversation with her grandmother, Cindy Fox, who had helped to make beautiful auction baskets for the Mission’s Sweet Sunday basket auction.  Natalie asked her grandmother about City Mission and learned that they provide food and shelter for people who would otherwise have nowhere to live and no idea where their next meal would come from.

“Kids too?” She asked her grandmother.

“Yes.  Kids too,” came the answer.

That brief conversation inspired Natalie to give back to those in need.  

“She has been giving back from a very young age,” said her grandmother, Cindy Fox.  “For her fourth Birthday party, she asked family members to make donations to the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh in lieu of gifts.”

With Easter coming up, Natalie was afraid maybe the Easter Bunny wouldn’t be able to find the children living at City Mission, and that maybe they wouldn’t get any Easter baskets or Easter candy for the holiday, so she decided to help the kids by providing them with beautiful Easter baskets.  Natalie and her family contacted City Mission, who currently has 27 children living at their Women with Children shelter.  They asked for the ages and genders of each child.  

Natalie mobilized her family and friends and gave up her horseback riding lessons to purchase items to fill 27 baskets for Easter, one basket specifically assembled for each child at the shelter.  She and her friends assembled and wrapped the beautiful baskets, and Cindy and her husband Dr. Craig Fox delivered them to City Mission.

“She asked a few friends at school to participate and the families graciously donated items and time to put 27 baskets together for the kids at City Mission,” said Cindy.  

“She wanted to give back for Easter to kids that are less fortunate,” Cindy explained, “and she decided City Mission would be a great cause.  Natalie got together with her sister Vienna and solicited help from friends: Liam, Julianna, Brianna O’Neill, Hayley and McKenna Hindman.”

Thank you, Natalie, for your compassionate heart for the hungry and the hurting.  Together, City Mission along with our friends in the community, can make the world a better place, one person at a time.  

April 6, 2023
Gary Porter - Communications Manager
Gary Porter
Communications Manager
Gary has been with the mission since 2017. He writes many of our resident stories, getting to know many of them and seeing their transformations at the mission from the start.
gporter@citymission.org

Recent Articles

Running For the Mission

Diana Irey Vaughan at Disney Land in Anaheim, CA
February 2, 2024

Former Washington County Commissioner and soon-to-be President/CEO of City Mission, Diana Irey Vaughan, recently ran seven races over seven days on two separate coasts for a total of 71 miles, all to raise funds in support of City Mission’s Hope for Homeless Women capital campaign. “I support Washington City Mission because I want everyone to have an opportunity to fulfill God’s calling in their life,” she explained. “Those served at the Mission, and their families, will find the support and resources they need to achieve success. I know of no other resource in our community that achieves the success rate of City Mission.” This was the sixth running event she has organized to support the Mission, and over the years, she has been able to raise $138,000. “Diana is tireless,” said City Mission Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts. “Each year, she sets higher goals for her runs, and best of all, this year, she ran for City Mission’s new shelter for homeless women. How can you beat that?” Starting on March 1, Irey Vaughan will assume the President/CEO role for City Mission, and Dean Gartland, City Mission’s current President/CEO, will transition into a role as President Emeritus, where he will continue to raise funds for the new 50-bed shelter for homeless women, which will break ground this year. “Diana is a long-time major donor to City Mission, and an indisputable believer in the notion that God gives second chances,” Gartland, who has served the Mission for 15 years, said of his successor. “She has my fullest confidence, as a Christian and as a leader.” Washington City Mission provides food, shelter, and medical services for those in need. “The Mission provides the opportunity for a new life for the residents they serve,” said Irey Vaughan. “Families I know personally have been reunited and restored. City Mission is a beacon of hope.”

"Play Ball!"

City Mission and Range Resources
September 15, 2023

After a weeklong rain delay, the fifth annual Range Resources vs City Mission Hits for the Homeless charity softball game resumed at North Strabane Park last Wednesday. "It's so nice to see our residents go out and play a game and have fun," said City Mission President/CEO, Dean Gartland. "We just can't thank Range Resources enough for putting together this event." For the past five years, each September, Range Resources has hosted a softball game with their employees taking on City Mission residents. Leading up to the game, the Range Resources team also supplied lunch for our residents and served in our dining hall to build anticipation for the upcoming contest and build camaraderie with the City Mission team. After the game, Range Resources presented City Mission with a generous check. This past Wednesday, the two teams came to the field ready to play, resuming in the middle of the second inning with the City Mission team leading 2-1. In the bottom of the second inning, City Mission scored another run, giving them a 3-1 lead. But in the top of the third, the Range Resources’ bats came alive, knocking in five runs. This gave Range their first lead of the game, one they would never relinquish as they went on to capture a 17-12 win, making the series record between the two teams 3-2 in favor of Range and bringing the trophy back to their offices for the first time in three years. "It's really good to see the camaraderie that develops between the residents out here on the field," said City Mission's Men’s Intake Coordinator/Softball Coach, Dave Green. "We see them when they first come to us broken. And then to bring them out here and see their talents start to shine through -- it's really something special to watch." The game is a special event for the residents of City Mission. It’s something that they all look forward to and a memory they will cherish long after they leave the Mission. Each City Mission player, no matter their level of experience or athleticism, plays the game hard and plays to win. Many of them come to us in a very vulnerable state and have suffered through difficult even traumatic events recently in their lives. And at the Mission, they are doing serious and soul-searching work on themselves. This annual softball game is an important opportunity for them to let loose, have fun, and support each other. It’s hard to put into words exactly what it means to them. “I just love playing ball,” one City Mission resident said in the middle of the game. “I just feel free.” “This is what life recovery is all about,” added Green. “It teaches these guys how to live and how to have fun without drugs and alcohol. I mean, they’re having a blast.” So thank you, Range Resources, for making such a meaningful impact on our residents and for engaging with the Mission in such a thoughtful and genuine way. Your business or organization can also make an impact on your community by partnering with City Mission. Contact Corporate Relations Manager, Eric Smith, at esmith@citymission.org or visit www.citymission.org for more information.

A Legacy of Giving

The Smydo family in front of the treehouse playset they donated.
September 1, 2023

A few months ago, Dave Smydo and the Smydo family made a very generous and unique donation to City Mission. They donated a treehouse playset and a bookcase full of children’s books for the Kids’ Corner in our dining hall. “This is a great example of a donor connecting with City Mission through his passion,” said Dr. Sally Mounts, City Mission’s Chief Development Officer. “Dave has a heart for kids and a huge interest in making sure their physical and emotional needs are met. So the treehouse and the bookcase full of children’s books are a natural extension of that.”“The heart of the Smydo family for children is evident in their gifts of the treehouse, books, and shelves,” added City Mission Director of Residential Programs, Leah Dietrich. “You can see it too in Dave’s work within the community to help provide children with opportunities otherwise beyond their reach.”For a long time, City Mission has been working to create safe, fun, kid-centered spaces around campus. For the kids who live in our Women with Children Shelter, the dining hall is a central place where they eat every day and get to play with their friends and develop social skills. The Mission also hosts recovery meetings in our dining hall, and the Kids’ Corner offers a place for the children to play together safely, build friendships, and develop motor skills while their moms work on their own recovery just a few feet away. But the Kids’ Corner is also an important spot for our adult residents who have children that do not live at the Mission, because it provides an opportunity for the parents to have positive, playful, and memorable visits with their kids on our campus. “The Smydo family’s generosity will allow the children who call City Mission home and the children who visit our campus the opportunity to enjoy a space just for them,” said Dietrich. “In a difficult time where they are faced with many challenges, they can simply be kids. The expansion of the City Mission Kids’ Corner will be enjoyed for years to come.” Dave Smydo first learned about the Mission when his father, Andrew Joseph Smydo, passed away two years ago. Dave noticed that the last check his father wrote before he died was to City Mission. His father’s final act of kindness and generosity moved Dave and encouraged him to learn more about the Mission. And he wants to pass on that legacy of giving to his son, Declan. “I am grateful for the heart of Dave,” said Dietrich, “and supporters like him who have a heart for children and a desire to teach the next generation to support those in need. He is truly working to instill in his son, Declan, that same love for others.”It is a beautiful story and a very impactful donation from a big-hearted donor and his family. Thank you, Smydo family, for your compassionate gifts to our City Mission children. You can make an impact in your community, too! Visit citymission.org to learn more about how you can partner with us in our mission to bring hope to the homeless.

A Night Out at the Movies

Residents at the Movies
March 31, 2023

On Tuesday, March 28, thirty-six of our residents had a night out at the movies thanks to Matt and Missy Harding and their family, owners of Asher’s at the Airport and Escape Room South in Canonsburg. Our residents: men, women, and veterans were all smiles as they piled into the Mission vans and headed on over to AMC Theaters in Bridgeville to watch Jesus Revolution. The Hardings had rented out the entire theater for us, so our residents could spread out and relax and enjoy a night at the movies.“It was quite an experience for us,” said Missy Harding, whose husband and two sons attended the event along with the residents. “It was a real blessing. I would bet that every single City Mission resident came up to us over the course of the night and thanked us and shook our hands or gave us a hug. That’s a blessing for us to think that it impacted them that much.”The Hardings own Asher’s at theAirport, a breakfast and lunch restaurant at the Greene County Airport in Waynesburg. A few weekends ago, they had their soft opening, and generously, all of the proceeds from the opening went to us. Our House Coordinator, Doug Bush, had been wanting to take our residents to see Jesus Revolution, but there was no money in the budget to make it happen. After Asher at the Airport’s soft opening, we reached out to Missy Harding to see if she would be interested in using the money raised at the soft opening to rent out a theater for our residents. “It was such a pleasure to be able to do that for City Mission,” said Harding. “We would be happy to do it again. The homeless are always on our hearts. Everybody just needs a little bit of support to have a second chance, and that’s what the Mission gives them.”And our residents were incredibly grateful for the opportunity. One resident told the Hardings, “Thank you so much for your beautiful gift. The movie meant a lot to me. God bless you.” Another resident said, “The movie gave me peace in the midst of my trials – and hope!” Asher’s at the Airport is now open for business. Many of their dishes and desserts are made from scratch using fresh, locally-sourced products. You can find details HERE.By donating to City Mission, you can help restore our residents to independent living. Please consider giving to the Mission today. You can make a difference in the lives of those in our community who need it most. ‍

HOW TO CREATE A MATTHEW 25 DONATION PROJECT

donations, food pantry, helping homeless
July 12, 2022

Mona Rae Williams of First United Methodist Church of Monongahela started a Matthew 25 Donation Project at her church to create a community driven donation opportunity within her church. Shelley Kubincanek, City Mission’s Church & Community Relations Manager, recently sat down with Mona Rae to ask her more about how she created this successful donation table to benefit, not only City Mission, but other organizations as well on a monthly basis. Thank you Mona Rae for sharing your experiences on your Matthew 25 Project with our newsletter. Question 1: How did you get the Matthew 25 started in your church? Mona Rae: I actually started the Matthew 25 after hearing about this from my nephew-in-law and his church in Arizona. It was so successful, I wanted to bring it to our church in Monongahela. It was a slightly different program than what I started in First United Methodist Church of Monongahela. Question 2: What does the Matthew 25 Project mean to you?Mona Rae:It is very important to me to help others! Question 3: What were you hoping to accomplish with this project and do you think over the years you have accomplished your goals? Mona Rae: Oh yes, each month our goal is to collect as much as we can and we accomplish our goals each month! Your Matthew 25 Project has been such a blessing to City Mission throughout the year. We are so blessed by the food drives, clothing drives, school supplies and sponsoring Thanksgiving meals, just to name a few. Question 4: What are some of the other donation drives that you hold for Matthew 25? Mona Rae: Well 9 or 10 out of 12 months a year we collect for City Mission and that includes for the Veteran's House and Christmas Gifts too. We also collect for World Vision and Jumonville Christian Camp. Question 5: If you could give a church any advice on starting a Matthew 25 in their church, what would you like to share with them on getting started? Mona Rae: Just get started & GET THE WORD OUT! The more they know about the project and needs the better the collection will be! Mona Rae gets the word out in her church newsletter and is a powerhouse to make all the donation drives a huge success! Thank you Mona Rae for your time and for sharing your information with other churches about Matthew 25. We know this could be such a great way to get the church congregations involved in faithful stewardship to help their community & organizations. If you have any questions about Matthew 25, please feel free to email Shelley at skubincanek@citymission.org

4 Ways YOU Can Help City Mission Restore “HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS”

Donate Food, Clothing, and Shoes
June 24, 2022

When thinking about resolving homelessness for those experiencing it, we can EASILY get overwhelmed as we learn that there are so many issues that lead to being homeless. Someone experiencing homelessness is not just suffering from a single issue but a tangled mix of issues that need to be worked through specific to the individual. That is why your partnership with City Mission is so IMPORTANT! With your help, together we can help those coming to the mission find hope for a better life. Here are 4 ways you can help: 1. DONATIONS: Your gifts can come in many forms. All are put to use to help the homeless. a. Financial donations are crucial to keeping the doors open and lights on, but it also means being able to offer personalized case management to our residents helping them get what they need to find a life with purpose. Financial donations can come from many sources besides a checking/savings account. Assets from Donor-advised funds, stocks, bonds, mutuals funds, wills, trust, or bequests are other ways to help that may also provide some tax benefits. www.citymission.org/ways-to-help/donate#donate-money b. Food, Clothing, and Shoes are accepted. Visit https://www.city-mission.org/ways-to-help/donate#donate-goods for a list of items we accept. Food can be used by our kitchen serving meals to our resident and the community or giving out in our community pantry called Samaritan Care Center. Clothing and shoes can be worn by residents who have very little; are collected at our warehouse and distributed to our stores, giving work training opportunities to our residents; and are sold at our Thrift Stores, raising money to support the Mission’s life-changing programs. 2. SHOPPING: But wait there is more here too! a. City Mission has seven thrift stores https://www.citymission.org/stores#store-locations and an ebay store https://www.ebay.com/usr/citymission84 to which 100% of the proceeds go to support City Mission. b. Amazon Wishlist is a great way to get much needed goods directly sent to the mission from the comfort of your home. https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3OX6HHA1U01LU 3. VOLUNTEER: We know your time is a valuable asset! So we can put it to good use helping the homeless! https://www.citymission.org/ways-to-help/volunteer 4. HOST A FUNDRAISER: There are so many ways you can create your own fundraiser for proceeds going to help the mission. Here are some examples and more information: https://www.citymission.org/ways-to-help/partner