Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School

It's back to school time, even for the kids who stay at the Rescue Mission. Eight children caught the bus for school this morning. Our generous donors and partners make it possible for our children to start school with book bags, uniforms, and school supplies. Thank you for your help in getting our children off to a great start for the new school year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There is seldom a dull day at the Rescue Mission. Our client population is on the rise, with counts in the 60's and 70's for the past week. Last night, we sheltered 79 guests. Maybe its the economy, the job market, or the fallout from poor life choices. Whatever the causes of homelessness, your Rescue Mission will be ready to provide food, safety, shelter and a second chance to those who seek our help.

Thank you to all who make this possible. Some donate financial resources, some donate volunteer time, some donate clothing and non-perishable food items. All these generous gifts make possible the work that goes on under this roof.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School

This is back to school time in the Mahoning Valley. Some schools began today, and in the next 2 weeks, all of the schools in the Valley will officially be underway. This is a busy time for the families who stay at the Rescue Mission. Consider this: if you have school aged children, you know the excitement and activity involved in getting ready to start school. There are supplies to buy, schedules to coordinate, and clothes to purchase. Now, imagine that you and your children are staying at the Rescue Mission. You have little or no means of income. Yet, your children need the same supplies and equipment that all children do. If your school has a uniform dress code policy, then you must purchase specific kinds of clothing for your children.

In our Family Services division, we ended last week with 14 children. We began this week with more families with children seeking shelter. Granted, not all of these families have school aged children, but many of them do.

We are so very grateful for those who help our Mission children with school supplies, uniforms, and backpacks. You help make going back to school as normal and routine as possible for kids who live in a homeless shelter.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Garden Grows

Our "urban garden experiment" behind our Distribution Center on Glenwood Ave is, by all appearances, doing very well. This unused back yard of the warehouse and distribution center has now become a growing and productive garden. Fresh vegetables are a welcome treat. We hope that this is but a small beginning to a larger undertaking in coming seasons.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unexpected Guests

The Campus Police from YSU were waiting for me as I arrived at the Mission this morning. That is never a good sign. The officer asked if we could provide a meal and showers for a group of young people who spent last night in a field on campus property. Apparently, the 4 men and 2 women (and 2 dogs) have been travelling around for some time. They came from Maryland and are on their way to Chicago. They were not asking for shelter and probably would not have come to the Mission had not the YSU police officer wanted to help them.

We took care of them as best we could, loaded them with clothes and food – at least as much as they could comfortably carry – and sent them on their way, with our prayers of course.

Lesson for the day: you never know who you might meet in the course of a day at the Rescue Mission. Thanks to Lynn, our Development Coordinator for the photo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moving Day

Read the story of Dorothy, one of our clients who moved into her own apartment. It’s a great day when one who was homeless finds a home.

After nearly a year at the Mission,
Dorothy has the keys to her
own apartment.

Dorothy had only 20 cents to her name for last few months
yet she says that God sustained her by giving her
food and a place to stay at the Mission. When we asked to take a photo
of the change, she remembered that she had given
one of the dimes away to someone who needed to make a phone
call a few days ago. That's trust!

With some towels, a box of food, a TV and a beautiful new pink chair and a truck filled with other donations... Dorothy is on her way to her very own place after staying at the Mission for a year. Thank you to all of the donors who support the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. What a special lady and what blessed day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homeless Awareness Walk

Today’s Youngstown Vindicator includes a story on the front page covering yesterday’s Homeless Awareness Walk. There will be another one of these in December to kick off the Cold Weather Emergency Program. Here is the link to the Vindicator article.

As I found the link, I also read the comments posted regarding the story. Some of these expressed concern that agencies are enabling people who want to remain homeless. While it is true that some of the homeless population is homeless secondarily to mental health issues and substance abuse, it is unwise to broad brush the situation.

It is true that people are homeless because they make bad choices. People tend to be homeless because it is the price they willingly pay to continue their addiction. In that case, they are homeless because they want to be. Likewise, it is naïve to think that the homeless problem can be solved by throwing more money at the issue. While we all know that it takes money to do anything, more money is not the solution.

The agencies that are involved in the Mahoning County Homeless Continuum of Care realize that enabling behaviors that contribute to homelessness will be counter-productive in the end. Each of them strive to correct and resolve the issues that lead to homelessness, whether that includes mental health care, drug and alcohol counseling, employment help, educational services, or religious and spiritual instruction.

Mahoning County is blessed to have such great collaboration among a diverse range of agencies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congratulations, Ian

This weekend Ian Spooner left the building. For those who know Ian, this was a great day. For those who don’t, here is his story.

Ian came to us about 3 years ago as a troubled 20 year old. He was estranged from his family and was facing prison time on federal charges of drug possession and dealing. To say he was troubled is an understatement. Ian had an explosive temper and distinct problems with social interaction. All of this was hidden under a disarmingly innocent baby face.
Ian struggled his first months here, but had no place else to go. He was forced to make a go of it. But Ian is the kind of person who, when he buys into something, does so in a big way. Soon we all began to see changes in Ian’s behavior.

What was gradually becoming obvious to the staff was blatantly obvious to those who had not seen Ian for a time. When we took him for a pre-trial hearing, his family attorney remarked at the physical difference he saw in Ian, not to mention the change in his emotional responses. The lawyer, who had known the family for years, remarked, “I never would have believed that this could be the same person.”

Ian had entered the Christian Discipleship Program at the Mission, and had found forgiveness of sins through Christ as his Savior. Twelve months later, Ian completed the program and stayed on for after care and follow up. With his legal issues settled, he found a job – no small undertaking in the Mahoning Valley – purchased a car, and rented an apartment. With the help of men from the Mission and from the church where he is an active member, he moved into his apartment this weekend.

God bless you, Ian. You have blessed us far more than we have blessed you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Remember the Children

Today, one of our donors gave a generous gift designated to buy shoes for the children who stay at the Mission. This is the time when stores and families are gearing up for back-to-school shopping. Remember that there are children who live at the Mission who also will be going back to school. Instead of shopping in the mall, they will make do with what they have.

So far in calendar year 2010, 67 children aged 17 and younger have stayed at your Rescue Mission. Most of these have been school age; many are toddlers, some are infants and a few were newborns. Thanks to all those who support the work of the Mission in the lives of God’s little ones.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Every day, people drop off donations at our Warehouse located on Glenwood Ave. Usually, they leave used clothing, furniture, or non-perishable food. Yesterday, however, we received a donation that was quite different from most. I don't know what the donors thought that we would do with them, but we were able to find homes for them. Note to potential donors: no pets, please.