The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is experiencing a significant increase in meals served per month compared to last year.

According to a press release from the Rescue Mission, 15,000 more meals were served in the Rescue Mission's dining hall this year than at this same time in 2022. This is an increase of over 143% year over year.

Rescue Mission staff believe the cause of this significant increase in meals to be a combination of rising inflation and the recent cutting of additional SNAP benefits in March.

These additional benefits were implemented by the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic to offset job and income loss during that time. 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 1,500,000 Ohioans received SNAP benefits in 2022. That's 13% of the state's population.

Rescue Mission President and CEO, John Muckridge says he's comforted by the kindness of those who supported the rescue mission for the past 130 years, even in times when they themselves are struggling.

"I know this is a rough time for our Valley, everyone is feeling the strain. We just pray and trust the Lord to provide through those who are able and hope those who need the Mission’s assistance with emergency overnight shelter and meals won’t hesitate to let us know," Muckridge said.

The rescue mission serves three meals a day at 6:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and has 186 emergency beds for men, women and children.

Donations of food can be dropped off from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily at 1300 Martin Luther King Boulevard. Cash contributions can be mailed to PO Box 298 Youngstown, Ohio 44501.

The Rescue Mission is currently seeking number 10 size cans of tomato sauce, cereal, corn, fruit, butter, ranch and/or Italian dressing and instant oatmeal.