Unfortunately, We Have To Cancel The Mission’s Only Annual Fundraiser

Adam Shanks
Adam Shanks, whose indomitable spirit inspires us today!

Dear Friends,

I am writing to confirm what I’m sure you already assumed due to the coronavirus pandemic – which is that we will not be holding our Annual Fundraiser – The 16th Annual Adam Shanks Miniature Golf Tournament – on Friday, April 24th.

While we will miss gathering together and celebrating, Ruth, Liz and David Shanks have, once again, contributed generously, encouraging all of us to carry on and be inspired by Adam’s indomitable resilience and optimism.

As they remind us of Adam’s mantra of “What’s Right Is Right!” – let me quickly update you on what and how we are doing here at The Mission as we navigate the unchartered territory we are all facing because of the serious public health crisis.

I am feeling both tested like never before by daunting challenges, and encouraged by the persistence and strength of our dedicated, compassionate, and talented staff, who continue to inspire me as they rise to the unprecedented challenges we are facing.

Daily, we are collaborating and in constant contact with government officials, private providers, hospitals and medical experts – adapting how we serve those who are most vulnerable, including individuals who are:

  1. at high risk of being infected with the coronavirus;
  2. have been tested and are awaiting results; or
  3. have tested positive.

Yesterday, we provided:

  • 150 individuals in our Shelter with two warm meals and a safe place to sleep;
  • 41 people who were homeless and on the street with permanent supportive housing; and
  • 83 individuals with counseling and recovery services in our Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program

Meanwhile, the entire operation of The Mission in the last two weeks has dramatically altered as we continue to serve those who are most vulnerable by adapting to State, CDC, and our Medical Director’s new guidelines. We now provide telehealth appointments with the Henry J. Austin Health Center and counseling sessions through our licensed partner providers. Onsite, group counseling and meals have been scheduled to allow for smaller numbers of individuals to be safely apart. And since visitors and volunteer services have been suspended, we have arranged for clients to have 15-miute phone visits with their families on Skype. We have also relocated a dozen of our residents who receive permanent supportive housing so that we could create a separate wing to serve those in our Shelter who are most vulnerable because of their age and health concerns.

At the same time, our costs are increasing dramatically.

This week we are challenged with moving our in-house professional licensed counseling staff to telehealth, resulting in additional technology costs and set-up. These technological changes are exploding our capabilities, but are necessary as a vital step is being taken to comply with the Governor’s request that essential social service organizations continue to have as many employees as possible work from home. This, as I’m sure you appreciate, creates enormous challenges as we reconfigure how we maintain our workforce necessary to care for the 265 people that we feed, house and help recover.

Since the beginning of this month, our costs for food, supplies, technology, off-site setup and overtime have increased significantly. Since March 2nd, additional expenses we have incurred as a direct result of the coronavirus amount to over $64,500 – as of today.

Those are new expenses that we have incurred in just shy of three weeks.

And, of course, those expenses will continue to multiply.

In addition to these added expenses, unfortunately we can no longer count on the revenue provided by our annual fundraising event, which traditionally raises around $60,000.

And while our individual contributors have always been kind and generous, we understand that because of the financial concerns many of them are facing, we are likely to see a significant decrease in donations.

So, our challenges are many, and our resources are limited.

With all of these considerations, if you are able – or know of someone who is – to provide any additional funding during this most challenging time, your gift would be very important and meaningful to those in need.

Donate Today

Your compassion and generosity will make a world of difference to those we serve during these unprecedented times.

In the meantime, I hope you stay well and safe.


Mary Gay Abbott-Young
Chief Executive Office

Update On Our Behavioral Health Services


Dear Friends,

While we are being tested like never before by this unprecedented pandemic, our staff continue to provide a full range of services to our clients, who are staying focused on their recovery.

In keeping with the directives we are receiving from the State, the CDC and, of course, Dr. Williams, the Medical Director at The Mission, the following practices are in place:

  • We are following universal precautions, including: handwashing, keeping social distance, and complying with screening guidelines for any new admission by our registered nurse.
  • All of our clients are having a full range of services provided. This includes telehealth appointments with the Henry J. Austin Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Clinic, and counseling sessions through our licensed partner providers. Each of these telehealth conferences is conducted in an area where the individual has complete privacy.
  • All visitors and volunteer services have been suspended and vendors entering the building have been curtailed for the time being.
  • For now, we have arranged for clients to have 15-minute phone visits on Skype, which can be scheduled in time slots between 9:00 am and 2:45 pm. Clients can reserve time for these calls.
  • Any new individuals who are admitted to our program go through intake screening by our registered nurse, and their admission must be supported by documents from the referral source. Additional measures are taken as deemed necessary by our medical staff.
  • All staff are up-to-date on all State and Department of Health guidelines.
  • Clients who have completed the program are still being discharged.
  • Family members can also contact their loved one’s counselor by email or phone with questions. If you do not have the contact information for the counselor, please send to Amanda at amandam@rmtrenton.org or 609.695.1436 ext. 303 and she will have the counselor contact you.

We will keep you informed – as we continue to monitor federal guidelines, closely collaborate with local authorities, the State Departments of Health and Human Services, as well as our partner providers, and do everything we possibly can to make sure that everyone we care for and all of us who are doing the caring remain safe and healthy.


Mary Gay Abbott-Young
Chief Executive Officer

The University of Pennsylvania Helps Residents At The Mission Start Their Own Businesses

Barrett and Curtis

The University of Pennsylvania has partnered with the Rescue Mission of Trenton to identify a small group of formerly incarcerated individuals to offer a ten-week intensive training on starting and running their own small business.

Through the Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program, the hope is “to develop and demonstrate a sustainable and replicable model to create new possibilities for those who enter the job market with so many daunting challenges,” according to Barrett Young, Chief Operating Officer of The Mission, who is one of the co-founders of this innovative program.

In this ten-minute video, produced by the University of Pennsylvania, the inspiration, vision and success of this program is shared by one of the residents who started his own business, along with Barrett and Charlotte Ren, Ph.D., a co-founder of the program, who is now Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Fox School of Business, Temple University – and whose initial idea sparked this unique partnership.

To view the video, click here: https://youtu.be/2IJnh9GcpHc

The residents who are selected to go through this program from The Mission receive one-on-one assistance from faculty and graduate students in formulating and presenting their own business plans. “I have been consistently surprised by how our residents have developed solid business ideas, and what can happen when they are given permission to believe in themselves and to dream about something big,” Barrett said.

Curtis Kitchen (shown here with Barrett), who went through the program freely shares, “It is extremely hard for people with addictions and criminal backgrounds to get a job. So, creating your own business was a new pathway that none of us had ever considered or knew the first thing about before we walked on to the University’s campus.”

After he went through the program, Curtis and his wife Brandy, who is also a former addict, were able to write a business plan to get a small business loan, which allowed them to become owners of their own auto repair shop. “Five years before this, I was sleeping under a bridge, wishing I would never wake up the next morning. And now we just hired a full-time employee who is also in recovery.”

Dr. Ren said that she hopes the next phase of the program will be to create consulting services and funding that can support the formerly incarcerated individuals as they endeavor to become entrepreneurs. She added, “These former inmates are often viewed as a problem rather than a potential asset to the community. As entrepreneurship scholars, we are helping them find their talents, motivations, and dreams.”

Barrett added, “The next step I would love to see happen is to have The Mission be able to develop the means to help some of these guys fund their start-up costs. Ideally, I’d like to raise the money to have a business developer work with them after they finish the class. That’s my dream.”


change lives

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The Rescue Mission of Trenton is the agency in the City of Trenton that serves the truly needy men and women who have no place to turn for shelter, food, and clothing. The Mission provides a safe, clean, warm, refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient and the addicted.

New Jersey’s Governor, First Lady, and Commissioner of the Department of Human Services Visit The Rescue Mission of Trenton On A Dangerously Cold Night

As the temperature plummeted to dangerous levels last evening, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, and Carole Johnson, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services met with over 180 men and women who sought refuge from the bitter cold, and enjoyed a warm meal at the Rescue Mission of Trenton.

Governor, First Lady, and DHS Commissioner

Surprised by the visit, the clients at the Mission engaged in conversations and had photographs taken with the dignitaries, who shared their deep concern for those who would otherwise have been freezing outside on the city’s streets. After spending time in the dining hall, The First Lady and the Commissioner visited the Mission’s women’s unit, while the governor visited the men’s unit.

“It meant a lot to our clients to know that the Governor, First Lady, and the Commissioner were so concerned about their well-being – and that they took time to be with us,” said Mary Gay Abbott-Young, CEO of the Mission. “Afterwards, the Governor, First Lady and Commissioner each expressed their appreciation for the work we do, and for the respect and care we give our clients who are going through a difficult time in their lives.”

She added, “While we offer food and shelter around-the-clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, of course, whenever the temperature gets dangerously cold and there is a Code Blue alert, everyone’s concern heightens. It is in such times that we are even more grateful for the partnership and support of the Governor, the First Lady, the Commissioner, the Mayor’s office, the Mercer County Department of Human Services, and our colleagues at other agencies in the community – including HomeFront, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Arm and Arm, and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness.”


Please click on the links below to view coverage of Governor Phil Murphy's proposal of $100 million in new spending to address the state's opioid crisis.

COO Barrett Young discusses the opioid epidemic as part of the ReachNJ campaign

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98 Carroll Street, P.O. Box 790 * Trenton, NJ 08605-0790
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