Season of change: Rescue Mission focuses on new facility while maintaining pandemic changes

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With beds and residents in close proximity, Muckridge said they've also enhanced their sanitary operation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley has been around for 127 years. Their mission remains the same, but as the pandemic continues, they’ve had to make a few changes.

“We dropped our max capacity from 134 to 80 so that’s 40 and 40 on each side of the house, men’s side and family side,” said Rescue Mission president John Muckridge.

With beds and residents in close proximity, Muckridge said they’ve also enhanced their sanitary operation.

“We added a position called environmental services coordinator who’s job it is to go around and clean,” Muckridge said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, public meals were available to sit and eat. Now those meals are provided to-go, minimizing traffic in the building.

This change has resulted in a lack of volunteers, who Muckridge said are the ones that help cover the food expenses.

“Having to purchase the food that they would bring in to cook and having to pay cooks to cook the food. We have over 800 volunteers that would come in on a consistent basis and majority of them serve in the kitchen,” he said.

Even with these new circumstances, Pastor Terry Weyand said he loves making a change in others’ lives through the Gospel of Christ.

“We get to see people come in various stages of their lives with various needs and by God’s grace we are able to meet those needs,” Weyand said.

One of those people is Israel Snipes, who went through a lot before coming to the Rescue Mission. Snipes said it was the love of the people at the mission who helped steer him back on track.

“Pastor Terry and the staff here are beautiful people of God. Anything you need, they will talk and help you going forward,” Snipes said.

Muckridge describes this as a season of change as they’re also focused on trying to get out of the building and into the new one.

With help from the coronavirus, the Rescue Mission said it needs $1.5 million to cover appliances, bunk beds and seating in the building. The new building will be on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

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