In 1995 a group of individuals in the Shickshinny area had a heart for those in need. They established a Non-Profit 501 (c)3 entity known as the Wyoming Valley Rescue Ministries. This entity laid dormant until 2005.
In 2005, AGRM (Association of Gospel Rescue Missions), a national organization with over 100 years of experience in rescuing people, had an initiative combined with localized Missions to plant new Missions in areas where none existed. AGRM, in combination with the Missions in York, PA, Lancaster, PA, and Washington, DC, decided they would provide the seed money and Board for a Mission in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. The 4 organizations hired an individual to come to the area to start a Mission. Initial talks were had with the formers of the Non-profit entity from 1995, and a Mission was born in Northeast PA.
In 2005, the Wyoming Valley Rescue Ministries started feeding homeless individuals off the back of a box truck on the corners of Wyoming Ave. and Olive St. in Scranton. Soon after, the Scranton Rescue Mission name was added to the organization.
Late in 2006, the first buildings at 8 and 12 West Olive St. in Scranton were purchased. The Buildings were dedicated on Jan 25th, 2007. Meals started being served in Olive Street’s building on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday evenings. Over the next few years, clothing and food distributions began for the homeless and those in need.
In 2008, special funding by individuals interested in altering the lives of those affected by addiction allowed for a building to be purchased in Wilkes-Barre (formerly the Knights of Columbus). This location was specifically to begin a long-term men’s residential addiction recovery program. This program, called the Life Change Program, is still changing lives today. The Wilkes-Barre location was named the Wyoming Valley Rescue Mission. Both Scranton & Wilkes-Barre, even though called different names, were always part of the non-profit organization called Wyoming Valley Rescue Ministries.
Having 2 locations with different names confused whether the organization was one entity or 2 different organizations. To try to reduce confusion and promote the Mission as one organization, in 2009, the corporate name was legally changed to the Keystone Rescue Mission Alliance, Inc.
Both locations now offer food and clothing distribution to the public weekly. Besides, hot dinners are served 4 nights a week in both cities accounting for thousands of free meals served every year, and tens of thousands of clothing and food items are given away to those in need. Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers make this possible.
In 2016 we moved to communicate better to both communities who we are and what we do. In today’s culture, the word rescue has become synonymous with animals. The name was shortened, and a new logo was introduced. As the Keystone Mission, we are working to “Build a community of HOPE.” Our Mission is: To be a catalyst for the community to provide help and hope to the homeless, hungry, and hurting people in Northeast PA. Our primary goal is to do this thru the Life-Changing word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.