Mercy Center Grateful to be 2023 Jersey Shore Impact 100 Grant Recipient!

Mercy Center Prepares Families for “Back to School” – with Backpacks and Supplies!

$100K Award to Fund Mercy Center’s “Housing Matters” Program to “Fill the Funding Gap” and Help Single Mothers

November 29, 2023, Asbury Park, NJ – “Single moms are the largest group that come to us at Mercy Center looking for help. They are desperate. They are deeply in debt. Those who are working are living paycheck to paycheck. They struggle to afford childcare so they can work. They are homeless or one step away from it,” said Kim Guadagno, Mercy Center’s Executive Director. “Thanks to Jersey Shore Impact 100, Mercy Center will now be able to assist these mothers, not just the women who are domestic violence victims.”

Last night, Mercy Center learned that it was the winner of Jersey Shore Impact 100’s competitive grant process. The nonprofit announced that Mercy Center will receive one of four grants of $100,000 for its “Housing Matters” program to “fill the funding gap” to help up to 50 single mothers, who have not been victims of domestic violence.

So far this year alone, Mercy Center has served more than 300 single mothers – single mothers who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence. But until now, Mercy Center’s funding required these women to be victims of domestic violence to receive services, including emergency shelter, and utility and rental assistance. Sadly, women who did not meet this requirement were turned away.

“After years of experience helping women, Mercy Center has all the tools to help – a housing navigator, social workers, trauma counseling, immigration guidance, and other related services. We provide this help in four languages,” added Guadagno. “This funding from Jersey Shore Impact 100 is a Godsend, and it will provide immediate housing assistance along with personalized solutions to help up to 50 single moms and their children who were previously ineligible for this assistance.”

During the application process for the grant, Mercy Center recounted the heartbreaking case of a woman we’ll call “Emma” who came to our offices carrying her child who was crying with hunger. They had been living in a car. Emma had lost her husband to cancer, then her job, and finally her home. Until now, Mercy Center could not help Emma with emergency services and housing because she was not a victim of domestic violence. Mercy Center’s state funding only covers victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.

“The Jersey Shore Impact 100 grant will change the lives of so many women and their children. On behalf of everyone at Mercy Center, thank you to all the women who took the time to vote for Mercy Center. Please know we will be good stewards of the funds, and we will use it to do God’s work by empowering our neighbors in need during crisis when they need us most,” said the Honorable Mary Catherine Cuff, Mercy Center’s Board Chair and Former Presiding Judge of the Appellate Division, New Jersey.

About Mercy Center

Mercy Center, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, provides programs and services that empower, enrich, and educate people facing socioeconomic challenges to realize their full potential, with a special emphasis on women and children.

Mercy Center offers emergency services to address crucial needs such as food, personal care items, clothing, and temporary assistance with household utility bills. Mercy Center’s Food Pantry is open every weekday, only one of two food pantries open full-time in the area and offers self-choice selection in a stigma-free, friendly environment. Our Family Resource Center is a “one-stop shop” for information, advocacy, counseling, resources and culturally specific, multi-lingual programs and services related to the support and preservation of families.

Mercy Center’s Sisters Academy of New Jersey is a tuition-free, middle school for girls grades four through eight. The Academy focuses on girls from surrounding communities from economically challenged families. It provides an education of excellence, life skills, and the necessary tools to become confident, self-sufficient, and successful in competitive high schools. In fact, 100% of our students graduate from high school.

To learn more about Mercy Center or to donate, visit www.mercycenternj.org. Follow Mercy Center on Facebook @MercyCenterAP and Instagram @MercyCenterNJ.

Media Contact:
Karla Roth-Bardinas
Think Media Communications
732.996.9789 (cell)