I am writing to tell about my experience with the Mercy Center in Asbury Park, NJ. Two years ago, I was facing homelessness, mental illness and a male who was physically and financially abusive and an absolute terrorist. I was referred to the Mercy Center by a social services worker. After having an extensive interview with an intake worker there, I was told that there was nothing they could do for me because I wasn’t, as she put it, “pregnant or Mexican”. I asked her if, at least, they could provide me with some toiletries because they were handing them out, food banks rarely provide these things and I had no soap or toothpaste. They gave me a ziplock bag full of tiny hand sanitizer bottles with “Mercy Center” stamped on them and some other useless swag, like a notebook and pen. Then I was told that they shouldn’t even be giving me that and shown the door.
Personally, I find this pretty egregious. What would Jesus have done? My circumstances were not due to laziness, drugs or refusal to help myself, nonetheless I was living in a broken down GMC Safari with my cat and eating out of rubbish bins most nights. It is not my fault I was born in this country and smart enough not to get knocked up if I can’t provide for myself, let alone a baby. So, the very merciful Mercy Center determined that I was not worthy or deserving enough of their help.
I have since gotten my life back in order and live in a proper home. Looking back, I am pretty disgusted by this situation and how unjustly this system works. All I want is for someone from the Mercy Center to please explain to me why this makes sense that they totally closed their doors to me because I’m baffled. I have written to them through email and facebook messenger and they wont reply.
As a board member I can only continue to applaud the extraordinary work done in social services and education by this organization. Efforts to lift people out of poverty ann to restore human dignity as well as hope for a future is the call of the staff of Mercy Center and it's Sisters Academy. Youngsters as fifth graders begin to learn self-worth and the value of a great education to help them break the cycle of poverty in which could continue to be trapped. Families and children work together to make positive changes in their lives and lifestyles as they become contributing members of society and strong community leaders. The programs of this organization are models of effectiveness and worth every penny I have invested in them. I encourage any philanthropist who is seeking to get the most bang for their buck invested to contribute to Mercy Center and Sisters Academy as the model social service and educational provider in Asbury Park and New Jersey .
Mercy Center NJ (mercycenternj.org).....As a volunteer, Board Member and donor, I have witnessed extroadinary work and extroadinary results to care for and change lives. One example is Sisters Academy NJ which is sponsored by Mercy Center NJ.. The cycle of poverty is being broken through education. Students are demonstrating academic ability, and are in financial need. Sisters Academy is a middle school founded in 1997 and to date 100% of its graduates have completed high school and 87% have gone on to some form of higher education – several have earned a Master’s Degrees. All financial contributions go towards tuition assistance for our students. Sisters Academy receives no public and no diocesan funding - it is sustained by donors.
Sisters Academy NJ gives aspiring young grade school women a chance to succeed and provides a life changing difference by investing in the future of our grade school girls.