Our History

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Our History 2017-04-27T14:59:37+00:00

Bridgeport Rescue Mission was founded in 1993 to address the issues of hunger, homelessness and addiction in coastal Fairfield County – the area currently known as The Gold Coast.  We are rich in many ways, yet there is a growing population who, for a variety of reasons, fight to simply survive.  We invite you to learn more about Bridgeport Rescue Mission and consider how you can partner with us to fight poverty from the inside out, restoring hope and dignity to our most vulnerable neighbors.

1993

Jim and Tammy Watson establish Bridgeport Rescue Mission. They cook meals in local church kitchens and distribute them from the back of their station wagon. Jim preaches while Tammy sings gospel music accompanied by a karaoke machine.

1993-1

1996

The Mission converts an old RV into a Mobile Kitchen. Staff and volunteers dispense food, the Gospel and prayer to hungry men, women and children in the urban core once a week. Later that year, the Mission acquires the Fanny Crosby Memorial Home on Fairfield Avenue and relocates its men’s shelter there.

1996-2

1997

The Mission establishes a one-year discipleship program for women. Lisa Burgos was the first graduate.

1997-1

1999

Rev. Mickey Kalman becomes executive director, instituting physical fitness programs, adult education and 12-step support programs for those struggling with addictions.

2002

Rev. Terry Wilcox accepts the position as executive director of the Mission. He and his staff developed and strengthened the core program by implementing the New Life Discipleship Program.

2002-1

2007

The Mission purchases and renovates a three-story Victorian house on Barnum Avenue and opens a shelter for homeless women. This is now the current Women’s Center where students in our New Life Discipleship Program reside.

2007-1

2009

As the recession of 2008 bears down on the working poor and homeless, the Mission is challenged to meet alarming increases in assistance while also growing in operational efficiency to ensure income levels meet the needs.

2011

In June 2011 the board of directors approves a strategic plan that includes an expansion of services in South Norwalk and the Mission extends its outreach of compassion, especially among children, where there are significant pockets of unmet needs.

2011-1

2013

The Mission expands and enhances its programs to meet the needs of women with children. In February the Mission acquires Bethel Recovery Center, now known as the Guest House for Women and Children, providing lodging, food and clothing to these vulnerable members of our community.

2013-1