YOUNGSTOWN -- The Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley is in the midst of its annual fund-raising campaign with this year's goal set at $2 million.
The agency, which provides services to the homeless in the Mahoning Valley, offers a 144-bed facility and serves three meals a day to its residents and three meals a day to the general public year-round.
"We never close," said Jim Echement, development director.
Donations to the Rescue Mission will be used for upkeep of the group's two Youngstown-based buildings, staff payroll, meals and other expenses.
The Rescue Mission also will focus its annual campaign on public awareness of the homeless issue, he said.
"People tend to stereotype the homeless into a narrow category -- usually male, older, lacking in education," Echement said.
"In fact, all sexes, age groups and economic and educational backgrounds are represented in the homeless population -- including families struggling to stay together."
Echement said homeless people are not necessarily jobless.
"Many of the people we serve are 'working poor' with children to feed who are trying desperately to make it on minimum-wage jobs," he said.
The Rescue Mission programs provide participants with job search and academic skills to turn their lives around, he said. The agency serves single men and women, with and without children, as well as families.
Send donations to: Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, P.O. Box 298, Youngstown, OH 44501, or visit the Web site at www.rescuemahoningvalley.org.