Standing on the steps of 20 Greenville Avenue before press, clergy and onlookers yesterday morning, Auxiliary Bishop Gregory J. Studerus went straight to the point.
“If anything is important right now it is caring for people who are out in the community but just don’t have the resources they need to be able to survive.”
And so began yesterday’s dedication and blessing of the Newark Archdiocese’s second Mercy House located in the old convent of St. Paul the Apostle in Greenville.
Much like the original Newark Mercy House, the Jersey City location will provide nonperishable food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing to all who request assistance.
The resource and referral center will be open every Monday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with special events like a Christmas toy giveaway expected throughout the year.
Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office and The Mercy House was given much of the credit for putting the new location together.
Until now, she’s been based solely in Newark. “I’m looking to get tapped into Jersey City” she says.
She’s hoping people will volunteer and take on tasks like sorting and collecting items, fixing the rooms up and helping people when they come in.
In addition to the resource and referral center, the Mercy House staff will continue operating the existing boarding house upstairs, with 30 paying tenants receiving three meals per day.
Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley said “there is a big need” for such supportive services. “The more we can recruit organizations such as Mercy House and others to come here and actually open places here, the better it is for all of our residents, not just in Ward A but throughout the city.”
The Archdiocese has set a goal of opening a resource and referral center in each of the four counties it serves — Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union.
“We’re excited about being in Jersey City, and everyone from the community has been very welcoming so far,” said Riley. “There’s a lot of need in the world today, so we’re looking forward to being there for the people who could use some help.”
To inquire about donating to or volunteering at The Mercy House in Jersey City, contact Cheryl A. Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on The Mercy House in general, visit www.rcan.org/offices-and-ministries/respect-life.