(WKBN) – Later this month, the Meridian HealthCare Foundation will hold its first fundraising event. It will be an interactive art auction that promotes mental health and gives back to the Valley.

The Meridian HealthCare Foundation in Youngstown has been around for almost 50 years. It began as an organization to help with the addiction crisis in the community.

Meridian HealthCare is now a full-service organization. Its newest project is an art auction that promotes mental health.

“We want to do more and more projects that support families, family reunification and just bringing people together to deal with their health issues collectively,” said Meridian HealthCare CEO Larry Moliterno.

The name of the art auction is DECA, which stands for Dream, Expression, Courage of Art. The theme for the art show is “Hope.”

“The people that we serve here at Meridian talk an awful lot about the fact that the one thing that they need more than anything is hope. I think in today’s world, it’s something we could all benefit from,” Moliterno said.

Eleven artists from around the country generously donated their artwork to the auction, including one talented artist from Boardman who will display her idea of hope with an abstract painting.

Meridian HealthCare emphasizes the importance of self-expression by creation.

“Those subconscious thoughts that are coming out in your doodling is a reflection of what’s going through your mind and some of the thoughts you are having. Some people can’t express their thoughts easily and what they are feeling and this just gives you another venue to do that,” Moliterno said.

All the funds raised from the auction will go back to the Meridian HealthCare Foundation to help give access to mental health and recovery services, provide drug-free pain management and grow primary care services for the community.

The auction will be held on Oct. 27 but bidding starts on Oct. 17. To bid, visit Meridian HealthCare’s website. Bidding closes on Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. and the winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m.