YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Nearly three years ago Jeff Mitchell went to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley in search for help after struggling with suicidal thoughts and alcoholism, which in turn left him unemployed.
“The Rescue Mission saved my life,” Mitchell said. “Before I went there for help, I didn’t care if I dropped dead.”
The Rescue Mission helped Mitchell become sober, find a job, and save his money in order to get a home and make a living on his own.
And on Wednesday, he was able to give back to the Rescue Mission with his fellow employees at Dearing Compressor and Pump Co., who presented a $3,761 check to the Rescue Mission for its Move Our Mission fundraising campaign.
Dearing Compressor, Youngstown, is a locally owned family business specializing in energy market design, engineering, and distribution of compressed air system products.
After the initial check presentation, Dearing vice president and chief financial officer Becky Wall announced that she and her family would match the amount raised by employees twice over, bringing the total donation Wednesday to $11,283.
“The lord came upon my family and her family [Wall] to match whatever the employees raised before they even did it,” said Rick Dearing, president of Dearing Compressor. “I didn’t know how successful it was going to be.”
Added Wall during the ceremony, “The money that you guys raised has been matched now twice, so your ones, your fives, your tens and your twenties are now over $10,000 to the mission.”
Every year at the company Christmas party, employees participate in a paid raffle to win gifts. This year, Wall donated the gifts to the employees in the raffle so employees’ money could instead go to an organization in need of support. The employees chose the Rescue Mission’s campaign, which began in November 2016, to build a new center for the mission just off South Avenue.
Its current center, 962 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave in Youngstown, is more than 85 years old and can no longer meet the needs of the people it serves, says CEO and President John Muckridge. It’s costly to maintain, rapidly deteriorating and too small to serve the hundreds of men, women, and children who need the shelter. On average the mission has been serving 114 individuals nightly.
The new building, to be constructed on a 17.5-acre site bordered by Erie Street, East Delason and East Warren avenues and Interstate 680, will have room for up to 200 residents, a section for social workers, offices, classrooms and, in the center of the first floor, a chapel. The cost of the project is $4.25 million.
As of now the Rescue Mission is on track to break ground for the new building this spring or summer, coinciding with the Rescue Mission’s 125th anniversary.
“Right now the mission has $1,685,704 in pledges from people who have pledged to give money over the next couple of years,” Muckridge said. “Today the Rescue Mission has $1,238,312 in cash. This leaves the Rescue Mission with $1,325,984 to bring in to complete the project.”
Donations continue to be accepted for a new homeless shelter through MoveOurMission.org.
“Every gift to this campaign gets us closer to a facility that will serve our growing client population,” Muckridge said. “It’s awesome to know the money that is going to build this new homeless shelter didn’t come from the government, but it came from local individuals and businesses here in Youngstown.”
Pictured: Dearing Compressor and Rescue Mission employees, including Dearing Vice President Becky Wall (front row, third from right) and Rescue Mission CEO John Muckridge (front row, fourth from right), celebrated an $11,000 donation Wednesday.