Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reflections on PACEM's Opening Night

Tonight was opening night for PACEM's fourth season of winter shelter to the homeless. We'll be open through mid-March. This day has been months in the making. I'm tired.

The occasion of someone seeking help at a homeless shelter should be a moment of profound sadness. I feel guilty reporting, then, that many smiles were shared tonight. The people we shelter are like family. Many of them live in the firm grasp of mental illness and/or substance addiction, so it's a disfunctional family, but it's a family nonetheless. So while it was awful to see some familiar faces tonight, it was good to see them too. I know, it doesn't make any sense, but there you have it.

We have 17 people on our shelter staff this year, and there's not a weak link in the bunch. This is a great team, and they're already starting to bond. I'd put my employees up against those of any small non-profit anywhere.

One of my primary responsibilities as Executive Director is raising the funds needed to sustain our shelter program through March so that no one has to spend a night outside in Charlottesville this winter. Frankly, it's the least favorite part of my job. Help a brother out and consider making a (tax-deductible) donation to the cause.

OK, I'm off to bed. Got to be ready for day two.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's sad that they're there instead of in their own places. It's happy that they're not on the street, as the weather worsens.