Sunday, November 9, 2008

PACEM Off to a Successful Start

As most of my regular readers (all 3 or 4 of you) know, I have an actual paying job in addition to being Mayor of Charlottesville. Since 2004 I have had the privilege of serving as Executive Director of PACEM, an interfaith ministry that provides wintertime shelter to the homeless and year-round advocacy and support to end homelessness (for more info.: www.pacemshelter.org).


Last night marked the debut of PACEM's fifth season of winter shelter, and our months of preparations paid off -- the night went off without a hitch. We had 9 homeless guests last night and 15 tonight, and our census will continue to increase as the weather gets colder and as the word gets out that we've re-opened our doors. Both Channel 19 (click here) and Channel 29 (click here) ran excellent stories in conjunction with our re-opening.

Over 60 area congregations and thousands of area citizens assist with PACEM each winter, helping to ensure that no one has to sleep out on the streets of Charlottesville during the coming cold-weather months. We are hoping to stay open through at least the middle of March 2009, though that's entirely dependent on how much money we can raise from now until then to cover our shelter operating costs; more funds mean we can stay open longer. (If you'd like to contribute to that effort, please click here. All donations are fully tax-deductible and greatly appreciated!)

Below are a few photos I took at our men's shelter last night. Even after four years it continues to be a remarkably humbling experience whenever I walk in the doors of PACEM, seeing row upon row of cots and knowing that those cots are what passes for home for many in our community -- including some folks who can fit everything they own in a single backpack.

We take so many things for granted, you and I. We forget that not everyone else can.











































Here's Jessie, Tonya, Gwen and Johnny (L-R), some of our returning shelter staff. We have the best people working for us at PACEM!

1 comment:

Caroline Emerson said...

Keep up the great work, Dave!!