New Mercy House in Elizabeth expands outreach to address growing community needs on Oct. 25

The Archdiocese of Newark announces the grand opening of its third Mercy House, a vital resource and referral center dedicated to providing comprehensive assistance to individuals and families in need.  The new facility will be inaugurated at 249 Court Street in Elizabeth on Wednesday, October 25, at 11 a.m.

Much like its counterparts in Newark and Jersey City, The Mercy House’s Elizabeth facility will extend a helping hand to all individuals seeking assistance. It will provide nonperishable food, clothing, baby essentials, furniture, and aid in job and housing searches. Additionally, it will offer support with securing government identification, enrolling children in schools, and offering rental assistance of up to $1,000.

As a Catholic organization, this resource and referral center will also offer spiritual support, including facilitating baptisms, providing first Communion garments, and welcoming clients to participate in healing ministries. The Mercy House in Elizabeth will be open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the grand opening event, Auxiliary Bishop Elias R. Lorenzo, Episcopal Vicar of Union County, will bless the new Mercy House and lead visitors in prayer. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the facility and gain valuable insights into the wide range of services that will be available.

Bishop Lorenzo expressed his joy at The Mercy House’s arrival in Elizabeth, stating, “We are pleased to welcome The Mercy House to our community. This valuable initiative truly embodies the teachings of Jesus in the gospel, actively enhancing the lives of those we serve. In line with the principles of the corporal works of mercy as outlined by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, The Mercy House staff and dedicated volunteers become beacons of compassion, providing tangible support to our neighbors in meeting their essential material and physical needs.”

Cheryl A. Riley, the director of the Archdiocesan Respect Life Office and The Mercy House, expressed the organization’s mission, saying, “Our aim is to create a welcoming and supportive place for the people of Elizabeth, ensuring they always have a place to turn to when they need assistance. We witness miracles all the time – individuals who arrive in a state of despair, and through our efforts, we’re able to provide for their needs. Whether it’s clothing, a fresh haircut, or assistance in creating a resume so they can find a job, we empower them with the tools they need to help them sustain themselves.”

Since launching in 2018, The Mercy House has assisted thousands of individuals, with approximately 7,800 people in 2022 alone. Currently, the Newark and Jersey City locations provide support to an average of 200 people weekly, with over half of them hailing from around the world as migrants. Many immigrants and refugees turn to Mercy House immediately upon arriving in New Jersey, often possessing nothing more than the clothes they wear. 

The demand from these migrants has grown so significantly that The Mercy House has had to recruit volunteer translators who speak languages such as French, French Creole, Igbo, Jamaican Patois, and Spanish to ensure effective communication and support.

Looking ahead, The Mercy House will hold its annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway in November and Christmas Present Giveaway in December, hosted at all three of its locations.  Furthermore, the organization has plans to open a fourth center in Bogota during the spring of 2024, achieving its mission to establish resource and referral centers in all four counties served by the Archdiocese of Newark: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union. To learn more about The Mercy House, visit To make a donation or volunteer, contact Cheryl Riley at As the demand for its services continues to rise, The Mercy House sincerely values and welcomes financial contributions and donations of any essential items. Your support makes a significant impact on our mission.