The Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network (SSJNN) was established in January of 2000 by Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern PA to meet the needs of impoverished residents of Erie’s Little Italy, and work toward revitalization of that blighted neighborhood.
Sister Mary Herrmann, SSJ, and Sister Carol Wilcox, SSJ, shown below in their first “office” going door to door, were the founders of the organization. Created in response to what the neighbors were telling them was most needed, the first programs offered were a weekly soup kitchen in collaboration with St. Paul Church, and tutoring for children with the help of gracious volunteers.
Expanding in 2014 to address challenges and needs of the broader community, the SSJNN today serves neighborhoods across the core of Erie, bounded between East Avenue and Cranberry Streets, from 12th to 26th Streets. The area includes a number of neighborhoods, including Little Italy, Central City, the Eastside Multicultural Community and many smaller neighborhoods between.
SSJNN provides one-on-one advocacy for the residents, a weekly soup kitchen, emergency assistance with food and hygiene products, community gardens and a wide variety of individualized and small group programs for children and adults. In collaboration with the City of Erie and many other organizations, businesses, and individuals, SSJNN also works toward neighborhood revitalization and community and economic development.