YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Two years in the making, the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley’s new facility is ready to open.
A ribbon cutting for the 50,000-square-foot building at 1300 Martin Luther King Blvd. will take place today at 2 p.m., followed by an open house until 6 p.m.
The $8.5 million facility will open for clients on Monday. It’s a vast improvement from its former location, a 27,000-square-foot building a few blocks away that was erected in 1931 as a YMCA.
The Rescue Mission moved into that building in 1972. Rescue Mission CEO and President John Muckridge says bricks are falling and windows leak cold air from the old building.
The Rescue Mission provides meals, religious services and job opportunities for those in need.The new building will offer healthier food options through a $250,000 kitchen, with ovens that can bake, steam and air-fry food. The fully furnished facility also has 186 beds – 52 more than the old building.
“The Lord has by the generosity of the community sent in all of it,” Muckridge says. “There is no debt. Everything is completely paid for.”
The #MoveOurMission capital campaign started in the 1970s and the proposed site changed throughout the years. Muckridge says it wasn’t until 2015 that there was significant fundraising toward the project.
The city of Youngstown gave the Rescue Mission land on the south side of Youngstown in the early 2000s. Then, in July 2019, the city Board of Control approved the sale of 27 vacant land parcels north of the old building for $6,480. That’s where the new building stands today.
As for the future of the old building, Muckridge says there have been conversations with Bill Lawson of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
“We want to see it be transferred to somebody who can use it, maybe restore it, bring back what it was intended to be when it was initially built,” Muckridge says. “The Mission is looking to transfer the building over to somebody who can restore it. There have been some conversations that they’re working on to see if they can receive it.
“There’s also been some conversations with the [Mahoning County] Land Bank.”
The mission’s $2.5 million general fund covers lighting, serving a couple hundred meals a day and other yearly expenses. Muckridge says those who want to donate to the Rescue Mission can click HERE or mail to P.O. Box 298, Youngstown, Ohio 44501
Rescue Mission Chief Developing Officer Lynn Wyant says donors are not always the ones who write the multiple zero checks. A donor can provide a meal for $2.17. Last year, there were more than 40,000 individual gifts.
She adds people who send in their Thanksgiving and Christmas meal gifts not only help with meals, but overnight shelter and workforce assistance.
“There’s work out there and we can work a plan with them,” Wyant says.
Bunk beds, showers and lockers, along with rooms for men, women and children are available around the facility. Beside the kitchen area, which looks like a restaurant, lies a computer room where people can train for a new job.
Muckridge says the Rescue Mission has partnered with Gasser Chair Co. Inc, Goodwill Industries and Millwood Inc. to place its people into jobs.
The new building is ready to serve 20% to 30% more clients and is prepared for the holiday surge.
“Entering the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, from a public meal standpoint, we’re expecting a significant increase,” he says.
The Mission also is assisted by volunteers from church groups and businesses. To volunteer, call Crystal Eckman, mission and volunteer ambassador, at 330 744 5485.
“She’ll be able to let them know what holes we have that they can plug into and help us,” Muckridge says.
When Muckridge needed assistance interior decorating, he got it from a good source. Jo Anne Brashen, an interior design consultant, was unemployed at the time and dedicated almost 40 hours a week for the past year. She’s one of many people helping on this project.
“Whenever there’s a need at the Mission, it’s always taken care of,” Wyant says. “The Lord always provides, and he always shows up with somebody in the community that’s able to meet the need.”
The Mission is ready to serve whenever the need arises.
“You never know how many paychecks you are away from being homeless,” Wyant says. “In the years that I’ve been here, I’ve met people that have been staying here that have PhDs and others who can’t read. You just don’t know who is staying at the mission and why they’re here.
“The Rescue Mission is a safety net that every community needs.”
Pictured at top: John Muckridge III and Lynn Wyant
Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.