Hundreds of attendees gathered at each Mercy House location, where they were invited to choose one new or gently used coat for themselves and an additional coat for each of their children. They were also encouraged to take one hat, scarf, and pair of gloves, all generously donated by various archdiocesan parishes, schools, organizations, and employees. By the giveaway’s conclusion, many individuals — including numerous migrants who recently relocated to New Jersey from warmer climates without suitable winter attire — had obtained clothing that will provide warmth as the temperature drops.
“This giveaway really makes a difference in the community,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office and The Mercy House. “We’ve seen children come in with no coats during the winter, and many families nowadays struggle to heat their homes.”
As the need for daily essentials and living assistance within local communities continues to soar, The Mercy House is expanding beyond its current two locations. On October 25, it will open a third center at 249 Court Street in Elizabeth. Auxiliary Bishop Elias R. Lorenzo, Episcopal Vicar of Union County, will bless the new facility and lead visitors in prayer. Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage is also expected to attend.
Looking ahead, The Mercy House will host its annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway in November and Christmas Toy Giveaway in December. Additionally, the Archdiocese of Newark plans to open a fourth location for The Mercy House in Bogota in spring 2024, thus establishing resource and referral centers in all four counties served by the Archdiocese: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union.
The Mercy House centers have assisted thousands of individuals since launching in 2018, including roughly 7,800 people in 2022 alone. Currently, the Newark and Jersey City locations offer support to an average of 200 people weekly, with over half of them being migrants from countries around the world. For more information on The Mercy House, visitwww.rcan.org/mercy-house/.
About the Archdiocese of Newark
The Archdiocese of Newark serves 1.3 million Catholics throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. The Archdiocese has 212 parishes, 73 Catholic schools, and many missions and ministries. Hundreds of Masses are celebrated in more than a dozen languages each week. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, leads the Archdiocese with four auxiliary bishops. Together, they serve the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services. For more information, visit www.rcan.org.