About Rise

Our Story

In 1967, a small group of community stakeholders founded our organization as Community Action Service Center, Inc. (CASC). We were established to fight the war on poverty, as one of four neighborhood centers strategically located throughout Mercer County, under the county’s Community Action Partnership. Yet despite the proximity and availability of social services in Trenton, transportation logistics continue to pose a challenge to many of our clients, thereby establishing Rise as a life-line to services in our immediate area.

In 1982 we became a private, non-profit agency, and in 2008, after 40 years of service, changed our name from CASC to Rise | A Community Service Partnership. This change better reflects our role as a vital service hub in our local community, as well as conveys the hope and optimism that we see reflected in our clients.

For over fifty years, we have worked with our local community to better serve our neighbors in need. Although the demographics of our clientele have evolved over time — from migrant agricultural workers and African Americans, to the 1970’s Southeast Asian refugees and the present day Latinx Community — what has remained constant is our indelible commitment to enabling our neighbors to better achieve their personal and professional success, health and happiness.

The Rise Food Pantry came to life in 2006 to provide non-perishable groceries to a hundred qualified families per month and has grown exponentially. In addition to non-perishable groceries we distribute fresh produce, personal products, baby items, household cleaning supplies, coats, children’s books, and pet products. In 2019, we moved from the Green House to our larger location on 133 Broad Street. This move enabled Rise to increase capacity. It also gave us the ability to improve functionality for both clients and volunteers and position the Pantry as an ideal volunteer site for individuals, groups and companies. 

The Rise Thrift Store opened in 2006 after a relentless series of fund-raising garage sales. We recognized the benefit of an ongoing social enterprise that would both serve our community and increase our financial independence. In 2017, we invested in the building that now houses the Rise Thrift Store. It is one of the most visited businesses in Hightstown’s downtown area, attracting both shoppers and donors from around the region who appreciate how their patronage supports Rise’s vital community services. It’s where pre-loved items find a new loving home.

In 2020, we addressed the skyrocketing need for our services due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. When our community was in need, we ramped up – from food distribution, to household goods to family support and virtual summer camp for kids – thanks to incredible support from grants, donations, sponsors and volunteers. 

In 2021, we launched “uRise Powered by PenFed” – a free resource to help our community  connect with one another, manage their well-being and mindfulness, and acquire new skills and knowledge.

Also in 2021, we moved our headquarters to 219 Franklin Street. We purchased and renovated this historic building in order to bring community programming into a first-rate facility to ensure that we provide a great experience for both clients and volunteers. Our expanded facilities and capacity have helped us meet the needs of our community in a post-COVID era –supporting approximately 900 registered families, distributing 180,000 bags of food annually, providing over 1,300 backpacks with school supplies to our youth, providing diapers for infants, and ensuring that our elderly residents receive essential delivered meals. In addition, we’ve introduced a range of nutritious wellness programs to promote thriving, including our popular “Recipe of the Month” series, focusing not just on basic needs, but an overall improved standard of living for people in our community.

During this time we created the Rise Youth Council, which in a few short years has grown to over 50 members. This incredible group of teens, led by a Rise staff member, has come together as friends who support each other, who support our community and who support causes they are passionate about. They’ve secured funding from diverse sources, embarked on inspiring college visits, enjoyed adventurous tubing trips down the Delaware River, actively engaged in various community activities, and even installed a rain garden. To support them, we’ve created a mentorship program where some of our Rise Board Members are mentors to some of our Rise Youth Council Members.

As we look ahead, we will continue to be a gathering place for our whole community. Individual families will be able to meet their own basic needs and the community as a whole will be a source of support for each other. As this sense of connectedness grows, Rise will be at the center of building a more just and healthy community for everyone.


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More Ways to Give Back

Become a Rise Good Neighbor

Your donation will do a lot for our neighbors in need. Thanks to you, we’ll be here when people need us the most.

Host your own donations drive

Hosting a donations drive with Rise is the perfect opportunity to create a positive impact together!

Check out all volunteer opportunities

If you’d like to share a few hours of your time, or bring a whole group to help out, we’ll welcome you with open arms.