In Memoriam of Robert M. Appelbaum


“What will we do with this building?
Let us put it to good, Quakerly use.”
And indeed they did.

Today, Mercer Street Friends lost a gentle giant. Our dear friend, Bob Appelbaum has entered into eternal rest and we look back with gratitude for all Bob offered as a founder of Mercer Street Friends.

Bob was a good man, a kind man, and someone who committed himself to Quaker values, and ultimately to the mission of helping the poor in Trenton and throughout Mercer County. He embodied humility and compassion for those around him as he reached his hand out to help renovate 151 Mercer Street to become a center for the community.

151 Mercer Street was just a starting point. Those who stood with Bob to see to it that the organization had a “homebase” to begin their vital work were visionaries. They believed in their own dedication to the poor. And their visions live on today in all who work, serve, and benefit from the offerings inside the building.

Mercer Street Friends has withstood the test of time – over 60 years of service to the community. Our Foodbank, education programs, and family resources are possible today because of Bob’s vision. Just this past October we inaugurated the Robert M. Appelbaum Service Award at our annual gala. His daughters were with us that evening as we presented the award. In them, we saw the next generation that helps to fulfill Bob’s legacy. How fortunate we are to have known him and we thank him for planting the seeds from which Mercer Street Friends flourishes today.

Bob Anderson, a great friend and former Board leader of the organization said, “Bob Appelbaum believed in building a community and in bringing out the best in every person within the community. More importantly, he practiced what he preached; indeed he practiced a lot more than he preached. Thus Mercer Street Friends was founded and thus Mercer Street Friends continues, honoring Bob’s spirit and following his example.”

The Mercer Street Friends Board of Trustees, Executive Team, Staff, and friends extends our wishes for peace for Bob’s family and thanks Bob, one final time, for taking a building and making it into a place that stands as a testament to helping the poor and remaining true to the Quaker values – simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. We shall ensure that Bob’s vision holds firm in the days and years to come.