YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is accepting donations for a new facility to replace its current 85-year-old building.
The Mission kicked off its fundraising drive on Thursday for the $9.5 million facility. The Mission can get grants to cover 45 percent of the cost of a new building, but only if the rest of the project is funded.
The current building on Martin Luther King Drive was built in 1931 to be a gym. Old gym features are still there, including a pool, which the Mission built a floor on top of to use as storage. The men’s dormitory sits on the old basketball court.
Within the walls of the building are a lot of memories, but the Rescue Mission has outgrown the its 120 people capacity.
The Rescue Mission says the old building is beyond repair and often overwhelmed with families who need food, shelter and protection. Much of the building is not usable and further repairs would not be cost-effective.
“We’ve been managing through this issue for years and it’s gotten to the point where we just really need a new facility,” said Deputy Director John Muckridge.
The new facility will sit on 17 acres of land at Erie Street and East Delason Avenue. The City of Youngstown deeded the land to the Mission.
Muckridge says the new facility will have more family-friendly features, like outdoor play areas, that the organization couldn’t have before.
“There’s no backyard here, and then you got Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 422 right there in the front yard.”
Executive Director Jim Echement says many don’t realize what the Mission does or that it even houses several families. He says they accept anyone who walks through the doors, and will assess their situation.
“What do they really need, what’s going to benefit them the most and transition them out as quickly as possible? Not because we don’t love them, but we want them to be back in the community where they belong,” Echement said.
He says the new facility will also have space for agencies like social services to work directly with people to get them situated more efficiently.
For more information on the fundraising campaign, visit moveourmission.org.