M25 Initiative Awards $15,000 to Provide Access to Showers in Bridgeton, Millville, Vineland

The M25 Initiative Board of Trustees has now provided $15,000, one of the largest private investments in Cumberland County, to help improve the health and well-being of individuals who are experiencing homelessness. The M25 Initiative has awarded $5,000 to one organization in each community of Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland to either create, expand, or sustain a program that provides free showers and toiletries to individuals experiencing homelessness.

“The M25 Initiative is focused on partnerships with individuals and organizations that seek to help our neighbors who are dealing with poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity,” said Ray Garcia, president of the M25 Initiative. “The Shower Grant Program is a natural extension of our efforts to support the work of churches and nonprofit partners in providing meals to our community, overnight shelter through the Code Blue program, and supportive housing to those facing chronic homelessness through our Housing First program.”

The M25 Initiative has awarded the $5,000 Shower Grant to:

• Spirit and Truth Ministries in Vineland,

• Bethany Grace Community Church in Bridgeton, and

• Trinity Hope First Center in Millville.

“Having a shower program at the Trinity First Hope Center is going to be life-changing for so many of our guests,” said Donna Stiles, coordinator of Millville’s Code Blue Program and Care & Share Meals. “Being homeless and having the facilities and the opportunity to shower will make so many feel renewed. It is going to be such a blessing for our community.”

The funds for Millville will be used to create a permanent infrastructure to support an expanded shower program that already operates in Millville in the same facility as the Code Blue Warming Center. The funds for Vineland will be used to expand the ongoing shower program. The funds for Bridgeton will be used to support the continuing weekly shower program.

“Providing a shower to someone in need is about affirming their dignity and improving their quality of life,” said Dr. Robin Weinstein, founder of the M25 Initiative and Pastor of Bethany Grace Community Church, the first to establish a shower program in Cumberland County.

“Where there is soap and water, there are smiles and hope,” said Dave Moore, president-elect and chair of the Community Transformation Committee. “Providing a simple shower to a person in need can mean so much more than just soap and water.”

In addition to the shower grant program, the M25 Initiative has committed to providing $18,000 in funding to support the 2021-2022 Code Blue Warming Centers in Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland. Additionally, the M25 Initiative has recently distributed over $25,000 in food insecurity funding to assist nonprofits and churches in feeding those in need in Cumberland County. The M25 Initiative continues to fund the Cumberland County Housing First Collaborative which houses individuals and families who are dealing with chronic homelessness.

For more information, visit m25initiative.org or call 1-844-M25-HOPE.

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