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Mission of Mercy

Award Recipients - 1999

Iris Sanchez, Founder

Iris Sanchez began her work with the hungry and homeless in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, in 1989.  Every Saturday for seven years, she cooked pots of soup to feed homeless people in the area.  She also arranged for and collected donations of bread, coffee, and clothing and convinced family and fellow church members to help her efforts.  She went to homeless shelters as well as to the squatter areas where the homeless gathered to sleep, serving soup and coffee and counseling people about available referral services.  In this way, she created Mission of Mercy to serve people who were no otherwise being cared for.  
Mission of Mercy is now housed in a church and distributes staples and canned goods to 1,000 persons a month, including 200 children.  Ms. Sanchez has also organized a support group for young women dealing with domestic violence; health fairs to provide basic prevention health care; and workshops on immigrant rights, medicare, food stamps and public assistance eligibility.  Mission of Mercy has also arranged with the Board of Education to offer both English as a Second Language and GED classes.  Presently, the organization is doing special outreach to the high number of undocumented persons living in the community to ensure that they also receive needed services.

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