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MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) – The Bowery Mission celebrated its 150-year history on Wednesday night with a special event and exhibition called A Legacy of Transformation.

The group helps New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and marginalization, offering everything from emergency food and shelter to job training. Its services remain particularly critical as New York City struggles to accommodate thousands of new migrants

The Bowery Mission was founded in 1872 during a wave of immigration. Since then, it has helped countless people find shelter, safety, and stability. 

In 1987, then-homeless James Macklin was riding the A train, when a stranger handed him a card for The Bowery Mission. It changed his life. 

“It gave me an opportunity,” said Macklin. “And what would you do with an opportunity that you don’t deserve? Try to be the best you can.” 

Leon Williams discovered the group in the 1980s in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction. He’s now a pastor and the head of the organization’s alumni relations. 

“I’m thriving,” said Williams. “I have a family, wife, kids, homeowner. I love it. This is great. I couldn’t ask for more.”

CEO James Winans stressed the need for extra support, as inflation drives up food prices and more people arrive at their doors. 

“During this current migrant crisis, when we’re seeing those immigrants come to our front doors seeking help, we’re remembering that in 1872 we were founded during a different wave of immigration in the city,” said Winans. “And we’ve been serving faithfully for 150 years.”