When New York-based Regency Lighting Specialist Chris Monteleone first heard of the legacy and work of Goodwill Rescue Mission earlier this year, he was eager to learn more and find some way to aid the work of the organization.
Founded in 1896 in Newark, New Jersey, the mission began as the “Industrial Home for Men” – a place which provided food, clothing, shelter, spiritual guidance, and instruction to those whose lives had been nearly destroyed by alcohol, lack of work, and other circumstances. It’s the oldest continuously-operating shelter in New Jersey.
Today, nearly 120 years later, the mission has remained consistent with that undertaking, with this year being a record year for the organization.
Executive Director Hector Vega told Regency that Goodwill has served 73,629 meals to those in need so far this year – up from 34,350 last year. Furthermore, 12,881 shelter beds have been provided so far this year compared with the 10,178 which were provided in 2014.
The mission was pouring its resources into the increasing number of people it was serving. And when Monteleone toured its facilities, he was inspired by the work going on there but couldn't help but notice that little had been updated since the 1970s. So he phoned Regency’s New York warehouse and asked if there was some unused product which could be allocated for Goodwill.
That was in May. A few weeks later, several projects were underway, and New Jersey-based MaxLite jumped in on the work, donating a large number of LED fixtures. The sleeping areas, chapel, and lobby area have now all been retrofitted with much higher equality, much more energy efficient lighting, which will save Goodwill money in the long run.
Ahead of Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the work of Goodwill and other similar charities. The mission expects to serve 30,700 meals in two special holiday celebrations in the coming weeks.
“During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, thousands of people here in Newark will wake up hungry, homeless, and hurting,” Vega writes on his foundation’s site. “Just a few years ago, many of them had jobs and were living productive lives. As the challenges of daily life became even more difficult, they lost everything. Recovering from the devastating impact of hard times is a very slow process for the hardest-hit people in our community. Continuing hardship pushes many over the line into drug or alcohol abuse, then homelessness and despair. Many are facing their first holiday season homeless.”
At Regency, we feel privileged to contribute to work like Goodwill’s, as we have always been committed to using a portion of our profits to aid individuals and organizations around the world who are making a difference.
Note: Goodwill Rescue Mission has no affiliation with Goodwill Industries.