Column: Rescue Mission of Utica Celebrates 130th Anniversary – Wendy Goetz

October 28, 2020

Celebrating 130 years!

Rescue Mission of Utica has served the most vulnerable in Utica and the Mohawk Valley since 1890. Yes, for 130 years, we have provided hot meals, warm beds, clothing, shelter and hope for tomorrow for many thousands of men, women and children. The grace of God and the support of our generous community have made the many services and programs we offer, and their positive impacts, possible. Together We Transform Lives. Our hearts and hard work have combined to bring help, hope, and healing where there was none. Decade after decade, we achieved: Mission Possible.

It all began in 1890. During a meeting at First Presbyterian Church in Utica, an evangelist Sam Hedley stressed the need for there to be a Mission to care for the transient and alcoholics in our community who were homeless and without hope. Later that year, the first building was rented at 24 Liberty St., and the rest is our amazing history.

Now, here we are having survived two world wars, the stock market crash, the Great Depression and not one, but two pandemics. The Mission has grown to meet the ever changing need and circumstance of those we serve. We help friends and neighbors just like you and me. We provide 12 major programs and services with many components. From the core elements of food, shelter, and clothing, to a facility that serves those with mental health concerns, an addiction stabilization program, an aftercare rehab program, a learning center, a representative-payee program where we help individuals manage their finances, a modern 42-unit apartment complex and a construction training program.

Together, we transformed lives. For example: Codie started running drugs for his mother’s boyfriend at age 9, became a hard user himself at age 14 and after using for eight years, he found the Rescue Mission of Utica and a relationship with God. He completed rehab at our Addiction Stabilization Center, graduated from the Parker House Aftercare Program and is now enrolled in college. Codie states, “I’m going to help people just like the Mission helped me, they gave me hope.”

As we begin the journey toward the next 130 years, we thank God for the generosity of our Mohawk Valley community. This Mission is possible because of you.

Together We Transform Lives.

Wendy Goetz is the executive director of the Rescue Mission of Utica.

If you go

  • What: Rescue Mission 130th Anniversary Telethon
  • When: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday

The event will broadcast live on Facebook, WVVC TV 40 and WVVC 88.1 FM. For more information, visit



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