Rescue Mission Adds Needed New Truck to Fleet

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With the rest of its trucks beginning to fail, Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley unveiled a new bright white cargo truck that will be used to collect donations from around the region.

“We could not feed the people that we do without a vehicle like this to pick up all of the in-kind donations,” he said. “I’d say that 70% of the food that we provide to our clients is from in-kind donations that this rig will be picking up for us.”

The truck will also be used to carry food between the mission’s location on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and the warehouse on Glenwood Avenue. Due to the limited space in the main branch’s kitchen, deliveries are made twice a week from the warehouse.

The two trucks that were previously used, Echement said, are not always reliable and have needed to be replaced for some time.

“These are all local miles on these trucks, which is very hard on them. The diesel sometimes just flat-out stops,” he said in the Rescue Mission’s parking lot next to the new Ford E-350. “The 2000 Ford we use has just run its course. We can take some chances and shuttle it back and forth between our two buildings for now, but sooner or later it will stop.”

A third truck is currently kept at the main location and used for storage because the body has rusted and decayed over the year. The older vehicles will be decommissioned, Echement said.

The new truck, purchased in late summer, was paid for by grants from the Youngstown Foundation, the Home Savings Charitable Foundation and the PNC Foundation of $20,000, $2,500 and $5,000, respectively.

“The statistics on the disadvantaged and underprivileged in the Valley are staggering. It’s a critical arena that we need to be engaged in and ensure the services and programs are improved for them,” said Jan Strasfeld, executive director of the Youngstown Foundation. “If we can help those people have a better life through things like this truck and the things collected with it, then we’re thrilled to do it.”

So far this year, the Rescue Mission has served an average of 631 meals per day, up from 453 per day last year. The total number of overnight stays at the mission has surpassed 47,000 this year. In 2013, there were 36,788.

Transportation has always been a challenge for the Rescue Mission, Echement explained, whether for its own staff or for those coming to them. In addition to the cargo truck, a van was donated a few months ago.

“We obviously couldn’t move people in this truck,” he said, beaming at the Rescue Mission logo emblazoned on the side. “Fortunately we have a new van for that as well, so we are now able to move people and things. … We’re always eternally grateful to the local community, who are always there when we need them. We could not survive without their support.”

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