This is our third consecutive day hitting or surpassing the century mark with this summer heat. Saying that it’s hot is an understatement. Last week was hot. This week has been inferno.
But you know what? The heat isn’t that bad for people like us. Those of us who leave our air-conditioned homes, get into our air-conditioned cars, and arrive at our air-conditioned jobs. You know who the heat is really bad for? The people who don’t have these luxuries…the homeless.
Yesterday, I met with the Reverend Anthony Marciano II, executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He took my publisher, one of our account executives, and me on a tour of his campus on First Street. Marciano is one of those people when you hear speak puts you at ease (“Hurt people, hurt people” was a memorable line he used). He seems like the perfect person to be leading this nonprofit, faith-based organization that serves the city’s homeless population (estimated to be at 5,000), most of whom are battling alcohol and drug addiction.
The Rescue Mission has a very stringent recovery program, one that doesn’t have the amenities of these “spa-habs,” I mean rehabs, that have been making the news recently as the Lindsays and Nicoles of the world have been making addiction look like the life of the party. They should be sent here, to see how tough life really could get. And to see what a wonderful job Marciano and his staff does with about 130 homeless men each day (“We could have 100 more beds, and they’d be filled by tomorrow,” Marciano says.). They are a dedicated staff of full-time employees and volunteers (administrators, substance abuse counselors, tutors). And they do it with faith, compassion, and contributions from the community. Nearly 70 percent of the mission’s funding comes from donations from individuals—and they could use more (hint, hint).
It would be impossible for me to do the Charlotte Rescue Mission justice in this blog. You can find out more on its Web site, www.charlotterescuemission.org. And you can learn even more if you get involved. I plan to. I think my coworkers and I are going to coordinate an “Undie Monday,” in which we ask our staff to donate new underwear, something Marciano says contributors often overlook.
Okay, now I have to get back to editing stories for our October issue. But first I gotta adjust the temperature on the A/C. They keep it so cold in here. —J.H.