The Market Street Mission’s Emergency Services Program fulfills immediate basic needs (food, shelter, clothing & other items of charity), gives appropriate referrals, and allows for identification of potential candidates for Mission programs.
The Mission staff addresses a person’s problem based upon the perception of the person in need. The goal is to establish a relationship, to show people that the Market Street Mission cares about them, wants to help, and that the staff and volunteers at the Mission can be trusted. The Market Street Mission’s Emergency Services play an important role in the community of Morristown and Northern New Jersey.
Many diverse people benefited from the Mission’s Emergency Services last year. Unlike the life-change program, 25% of the people who come for basic needs are women and children. Some may not be homeless, but many are just barely making it on whatever income they have; they include the working poor and people on welfare.
Of the more than 85,000 meals served at the Market Street Mission each year, over 21,000 are to non-residents, or people outside the Mission’s Life Change Program. The Mission serves hot breakfast and dinner to whoever comes to the door. (Free lunches are served at other locations in Morristown.)
The Market Street Mission provided over 4,500 nights of emergency shelter to homeless men last year. Under the Homeless Shelter Emergency Program, a man with transient status may stay at the Mission and sleep on the chapel floor for approximately ten days. The Mission takes in almost any man ‒ there must be a good reason for a man to be turned away. The chapel is under constant supervision for the men’s safety and well being. Men can shower, have their clothes laundered, and enjoy a safe, clean, drug-free environment. Attendance at chapel services is encouraged but not required.
Some of the people referred to the Mission cannot be helped here. If the staff of the Mission cannot help an individual directly, then they do their best to help him/her by giving a referral to a more appropriate agency or group. The Mission staff gives referrals to detox centers for alcohol and substance abuse, the local emergency room or public health clinic for medical assistance, or to a crisis intervention center for mental health disorders. Women with or without children are referred to the Morris County Shelter, the battered women’s shelter, Interfaith Council for Homeless Families, or other appropriate agencies. Whatever the need, the Mission staff tries to meet it, such as providing applications for food stamps, social security cards, and birth certificates.
Another emergency-type program takes place through the Mission’s Thrift Store. The store gives clothing, furniture and other household items to needy families or individuals. A pastor or social worker might refer someone to the store for some needed items, and the Mission always tries to meet their need. The Morris County Shelter refers people here, so the store is a good source of community goodwill. Most items ‒ from refrigerators and furniture to bicycles and dishes ‒ are donated by individuals in the community.
The emphasis of the Emergency Services Program is on bearing an individual’s burden. These services are offered and delivered with nothing demanded in return. Although the daily chapel services are open to all, attendance is not required. 84% of the people coming to the Mission for emergency shelter are suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, which makes these programs ideal feeders for the Life Change Program; the heart of the work of the Market Street Mission.