With our 35th anniversary around the corner in 2015, all of us at The Crisis Ministry of Mercer County have much to reflect upon with gratitude. The support of many long-time community friends — and new ones, too — has made possible the vital path to stability for low-income neighbors.

Many area families struggle with high housing and food costs and stagnant or unsteady incomes that lead to tough choices like these: Pay my electric bill — or my rent? Spend my scarce dollars on food — or fix my car so I can get to work?

The Crisis Ministry takes a caring approach to addressing tough economic realities. With equal measures of effectiveness and dignity, our staff and volunteers work daily to carry out our mission of “Partnering with our community to achieve stability for our neighbors in need.”

The integrated services we provide increase food security, housing stability, and job readiness for neighbors who struggle to make ends meet. Here is a brief look:

Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Education: Our food pantries, community garden, and Home Food Delivery provide access to high quality, heart-healthy food including locally grown produce. In fact, every week we provide enough food for our visitors to prepare 12,500 meals for themselves and their families! We also host free health screenings and provide budget-friendly nutrition and food preparation tips.

Housing Stability and Homelessness Prevention: We assist with one-time emergency payments on rent, mortgage, and utilities and with security deposits. During this past year we helped 1,363 individuals in 573 households to remain stably housed under their own roofs or to move into an apartment after being homeless. For families with persistent challenges to financial stability, we provide ongoing support toward attaining self-sufficiency.

Workforce Development: Through enrollment in our Harvesting Hope and License to Succeed programs, members gain on-the-job experience, online training and certification, job search guidance, and life skills mentoring, and benefit from driver’s license assistance. We admire the many men and women who have worked with us to pave their way back into the workforce and into better paying jobs.

Please learn more about us — including volunteer and community service opportunities for businesses, schools, and more. Visit www.thecrisisministry.org; find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; or contact us at info@thecrisisministry.org or 609-396-9355. We would love to welcome you to our caring community!

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