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Archdiocese of Newark’s Mercy House to Host 5th Anniversary Celebration

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ,  The Mercy House of Newark — a resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office — will commemorate five years of providing food, clothing, and other essentials to those in need with an anniversary celebration on Friday, July 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 620 Clinton Ave.

All are invited to the celebration, which will feature ice cream, popcorn, games, music, and crafts for children. Additionally, representatives from Several Sources Shelters — a nonprofit that provides shelter and assistance to young mothers and their babies — will be on-hand offering free sonograms to pregnant women.

“Five years is a wonderful milestone, and we want to acknowledge all the good we’ve accomplished in Newark,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Respect Life Office and The Mercy House. “We’ve helped a lot of people, grown our services, and built a good reputation in the city. If someone is in need, they will visit or call The Mercy House because they know we’ll assist them.”

Opened in June 2018, The Mercy House initially served as a center for helping mothers and pregnant women. But after witnessing the need of the local community, the Archdiocese of Newark realized it had to broaden its mission. So, The Mercy House began providing nonperishable food, clothes, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing to anyone in need. It has since expanded its services to include support obtaining government identification and rental assistance of up to $1,000.

As a Catholic organization, The Mercy House offers spiritual assistance as well. This includes facilitating the Catholic rite of baptism and providing attire for a child’s first holy Communion. Visitors are also invited to attend The Mercy House’s healing ministries.

“I’ve heard we do too much, but who else is going to help like we do?” Riley said. “People have come to us after literally just arriving in New Jersey because they have nothing. We see children with no shoes and migrants who need seasonal clothes because their countries of origin didn’t have weather like ours. We recently had a woman come in who couldn’t afford a haircut, so we made sure she got one. We don’t turn anyone away.”

The Mercy House has served thousands of people over the past five years, including roughly 7,800 individuals in 2022 alone. That is twice the number it served before the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, The Mercy House of Newark and its sister site in Jersey City — which opened in December 2022 — each help an average of 200 people every week. More than half of that number are migrants from throughout the world, so The Mercy Houses rely on volunteer translators who speak French, French Creole, Igbo, Jamaican Patois, and Spanish.

Moving forward, Riley and her staff hope to open satellite Mercy Houses in Bergen and Union counties in addition to finding a volunteer translator who can speak Arabic. They also welcome more donations and volunteers to help the growing number of people in need. Due to overwhelming demand, financial contributions and donated essentials of any kind are especially appreciated.

The Mercy House of Newark is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those interested in donating or volunteering should contact Cheryl A. Riley at To learn more about The Mercy Houses of Newark and Jersey City, visit

The Archdiocese of Newark serves 1.3 million Catholics throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. The Archdiocese has 212 parishes, 73 Catholic schools, and many missions and ministries. Hundreds of Masses are celebrated in more than a dozen languages each week. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, leads the Archdiocese with four auxiliary bishops. Together, they serve the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services. For more information, visit

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