Low income help from Mary’s Mercy Center.

Income qualified families in San Bernardino County may be able to turn to the non-profit Mary’s Mercy Center for safety net services. The agency can sometimes offer support as a last resort, or they can direct families to other organizations in the community as part of their information and referral service.

When seeking help from the agency, applicants need to note that funds are limited. With too many families still living in poverty and people not earning a living wage, the demand is extensive. Only a limited number of requests are fulfilled, but in any case the agency will try to offer referrals to those that do not qualify. More details on some of the resources are below.

Mary’s Mercy Center food, furniture and clothing

Mary’s Mercy Center food pantry is open a few times per week, and residents can turn to it throughout the year. It is run in partnership with churches and non-profits, such as Feeding America. When someone is out of options, the pantry can provide a box of food or maybe some fresh items. The goal is to provide enough non-perishable canned goods or frozen items to last for a few days, but of course that depends on what was donated.

Also operating from the pantry center is the Meals on Wheels Service. This is a program focused on those senior citizens as well as disabled residents that can't prepare a meal or shop on their own. For those that qualify, a hot meal will be delivered to them on most days of the week. There is a small donation requested for this service to pay for gas and other overhead. But that fee is not mandatory.

Hot meals are served to thousands of very low income and homeless individuals. Mary's Table is the name of the service. There are Christmas and holiday meals served for children, boxes of groceries, and more passed out. No ID or proof of income is required.

The Thrift Store allows people from across the entire county to shop there. Customers can shop with a mission in mind, and that is to save money. Not only that, but any money they spend at the site will flow back into the community and go towards paying for the other services run by Mary’s Mercy Center, as noted on this page.




All sorts of items are available at the store. There is gently used clothing, shoes, boots, winter coats and more. Furniture may also be available, such as beds, cribs, or small appliances. The site is in fact the non-profit's main source of funding.

Basic needs are met by St. Joseph's Clothes Closet. Not only will free work or school clothes be passed out by volunteers, but the charity will also have free diapers, blankets, formula, bottles for babies, baby food for single parents, shampoo and lotion. The center will even arrange personal hygiene, such as showers and cleaning supplies.

Emergency aid and referrals

Mary’s Mercy Center may either have, or direct residents to, financial assistance. There may be a small amount of money for expenses ranging from rent to utility bills, such as water or electric costs. If the request can't be met, then staff may refer the applicant to a grant program or maybe a low interest loan from a partner agency.

There are only a limited number of times in which Mary’s Mercy Center is able to provide assistance. An application and interview is required. This process will consider each client’s situation and try to provide some form of assistance that will enable the client to meet future needs. People should bring documentation including Rental or Lease Agreement, Proof of income for all members of the household, copies of bills, and more.

Mary’s Mercy Center may help with other needs too. If a income qualified client needs assistance in paying for educational support, such as the state of California GED test, they will try to find funds for the test. Or there may be help in obtaining ID for a job, prescription drugs for life saving needs, and similar expenses.





There are also services for Homeless Families. These range from an emergency shelter to more short term transitional housing. Whenever possible staff from Mary’s Mercy Center offer rehousing solutions, and this will move formerly homeless families into permanent housing as quickly as possible. This is also a focus for households with children or single parents, and there may even be grants for expenses such as first months rent or a security deposit.

Community clinics in San Bernardino provide affordable, quality health-care. Mary’s Mercy Center is aware of the centers, as ensuring that medical issues are addressed is critical to gaining self-sufficiency. There are medical services to those that are uninsured or under-insured.

Referral is always available. There are private and government agencies that offer financial relief for critical needs as part of a strategic plan. Many groups, including the working poor, are committed to providing  resources to make a difference for the low income that are willing and able to gain self-sufficiency.

Appointments will always need to be made, and applicants need to be prepared with documentation on income, their need, and more. The main office is at Mary’s Mercy Center, 641 Roberds, San Bernardino, CA 92411, dial (909) 889-2558.



By Jon McNamara

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