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 tells the people about God’s love and transforming power while Tammy sings gospel songs along with a karaoke machine.
1996 – The Mission converts an old RV into a Mobile Kitchen. Staff and volunteers distribute food and offer prayer to hungry men, women, and children. Later that year, the Mission acquires the Fanny Crosby Memorial Home on Fairfield Avenue and relocates its men’s shelter there.
1997 – The Mission establishes an addiction recovery program for women.
1999 – Rev. Mickey Kalman becomes Executive Director, creating physical fitness programs, adult education, and 12-step support programs for men and women wanting to be free of addictions.
2002 – Rev. Terry Wilcox becomes Executive Director. He and his staff develop recovery services into the New Life Program.
2007 – The Mission purchases and renovates a three-story Victorian house on Barnum Avenue to open a shelter for homeless women. (Today this is the Women’s Center for those in the New Life Program.)
2008 – The Mission distributes 81 turkeys from their Main Campus during the holiday season. As the recession of 2008 bears down on the working poor and homeless, the Mission works to meet alarming increases in need, while also ensuring income levels meet the needs.
2011 – The Board of Directors approves a strategic plan that includes expanding services to South Norwalk, where there are significant unmet needs, especially among children. Mobile Kitchens begin delivering meals to impoverished neighborhoods. Grace Baptist Church helps distribute coats, turkeys, and Pantry Bags.
2013 – The Mission expands and enhances programs to meet the needs of single mothers. The Mission acquires Bethel Recovery Center, today known as the Guest House for Women and Children, to provide emergency shelter, food, and clothing to vulnerable community members. Due to increased needs, the Mission provides turkeys, fixings, and coats to more than 3,000 families, and names this outreach Great ThanksGiving Project.
2017 – The Mission launches Supportive Housing Programs for men and women, providing graduates of the New Life Program transitional housing, case management, and in-house apprenticeships to ease the transition into independent living.
2019 – The Mission, with the generous donations of partners, purchase the nursing home at 725 Park Avenue, to be poised to meet the expanding needs in Coastal Connecticut.
2020 – Pantry services move to Park Avenue, while building renovations continue on upper floors so that more Mission programs and essential Human Services may be housed under one roof.
2021 – The expanded Community Pantry opens in the Summer, providing the Mission’s community guests with more of a variety of nutritious food selections for their families.