Last month, the New York City Mission Society held its annual fundraising gala at The Pierre on 5th Avenue. Now in its third century of operation, the human services organization is still going strong. Executive Director Stephanie Palmer says she is proud of the work the Mission has done so far. “We’re proud that we have helped shape social services in this city by virtue of our longevity. Entering our 3rd century of service, that’s a pretty awesome feat in this economy. Our ability to work closely with our communities is what we’re most proud of and we’ve been helping longer than anyone else,” she says.
In the wake of emerging gun violence in America, the SNUG (guns spelled backwards) program is one of the programs that helps to reduce gun violence in NYC communities. “The SNUG program was established by the state legislature of New York. We have partnered with the government for a long time in dealing with current issues. Modeled out of Chicago, the ‘cease fire’ model is a public health response to gun violence. We work with both Harlem Hospital and local precincts to help reduce violence incidents. We established ‘Violence Interrupters’ which is a group of young men and women who have had incidents with the criminal justice system. Many have served time and are passionate about changing their lives and helping young people make alternative decisions about gun violence,” she explains.
Palmer says people who are interested in donating to the Mission's ongoing efforts shouldn't be discouraged if they can't give a lot. “People think you have to have a wealthy hedge fund board to raise money, but that is so not true. To quote Martin Luther King Jr: Everybody can be great because everybody can serve," she says.
She continues, “I urge people to go to our website to find ways to give back. Everyone can contribute. A gently used coat…a suit for a young man or woman going on a job interview… or volunteering at our Halloween party where we provide a safe space where kids can come and be kids. The website delineates all the details.”
The event was attended by several notable guests including fashion designer b michael, Mark-Anthony Edwards, Star Jones, fashion designer Laura Smalls, actress Cicely Tyson, former NYC mayor David Dinkins, the Rev. Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Church, Faye Wattleton, and Ken and Kathryn Chenault.