Supporters of The Sub Zero Mission,

Hello, I am Al Raddatz, the CEO of The Sub Zero Mission.

Al Raddatz Founder and CEO of the Sub Zero Mission

Al Raddatz Founder and CEO

As I write this Year End Report, it is the first day of Spring! Spring represents the beginning of warm weather and fun times with family. For our team, it represents the end of our season of delivery. Our team will take a small break and, in May, we will begin the planning for fundraising, collection of warming items and delivery!

When I reported to you last year, we had just finished our biggest year since we began to run with the idea of delivering warming items directly to the homeless in 2009. We had run more fundraisers and events, collected and/or purchased more warming items, found more camps in more cities and states than in any other year. We also had a tremendous year of monetary collection. Last year was awesome and showed what small, determined group of people could do when fueled by an awesome group of supporters like you!

While everybody felt great about what we had accomplished, it was obvious that our team would need to take a step back, rest, regroup and recharge. We set our goals a little lower for the 2016-2017 season. We planned a few less fundraising events, a few less physical warming item drives and Stuff the Bus events. We also planned to add some new faces and energy to our board, our event committee, and our delivery team.

While we said goodbye to Brian Lawlor, our Media Director, we said hello to Frank Vaccariello, who joined us as our Director of Marketing. This led to an immediate re-facing of our online presence, improved communications and a sharper, crisper message to our supporters. The Director of Media role was absorbed by our existing board member, Shawn McLaughlin.

We welcomed Karen Suttman to the team as Director of Events. Karen jumped right in and was an instant shot of energy to the team. Karen and her team handled all facets of scheduling and executing our seemingly never ending calendar of events. These included 13 Stuff the Bus events, a reverse raffle and more!

As the season ended, Kelli Mueller, Board Secretary, posted her resignation. We currently have a list of candidates and we plan to fill the role by our board meeting in May. Special thanks to Kelli for all of her hard work.

Jacob Bennett presents the check the went towards the purchase of equipment

Jacob Bennett presents the check the went towards the purchase of equipment to members of the Board.

This year brought us new help in a different way, as well! We had the privilege to help a Boy Scout on his path to achieving his Eagle Scout rank. Thank you, Jacob Bennett. This young man did not want to simply host a sock drive and say that he helped. He dug in and showed leadership. Jacob planned several events, set them up, lined up and scheduled staff and executed the events, with very little supervision. He worked with his troop to replace our flashlights and CB radios with new ones. these tools are essential for our delivery team,  Our season wouldn’t have been possible without his help and leadership. And, for me, I got to see the look in his eye when he went with our delivery team one night and served people under bridges, in alleys and at shelters. He got it. Our Mission left a mark on his soul, and that means everything to me!

A high energy level and a team that works cohesively is essential for our delivery team. During the off season, this is where we focused. We needed more of the right people so that the long hours spent working together, most of the time after having worked a full day, would not wear down our team or morale.

We had 33 different people on our delivery bus this year! We had quite a few new team members and a few others who stepped up into leadership roles. Including our Youngstown team, we performed 36 different delivery missions. This is impressive since the weather was unseasonably warm at different times, causing us to cancel a few trips along the way. We managed our normal footprint between Ashtabula and Akron, while also making longer trips to Columbus OH, Buffalo NY, Erie and Sharonville Pa. In all, we delivered in 13 cities and three states. We even had one day where we delivered in three states at the same time- a Sub Zero Mission first! We found over 100 camps in all and delivered to 15 shelters.

Instead of moving to a new space, which seemed imminent at one point in the season, we became the primary renter. This allowed us to double our storage space while keeping our rental costs nearly the same.

Because of you, our generous donors and supporters, we were able to accomplish so much! We fuel this mission on your support. In addition to the hundreds of people who donated physical warming items, we had between 700-800 people make monetary donations of some kind. Here is a breakdown of what we delivered this year:

  • 1790 men’s coats
  • 335 women’s coats
  • 306 sleeping bags
  • 25 survival coats (coats that turn into sleeping bags)
  • 7 tents
  • 1176 hats
  • 1190 pairs of gloves
  • 3605 pairs of socks
  • 303 pairs of boots
  • 450 jackets and layers
  • The Youngstown team delivered 1,012 total items while our Cleveland team delivered 9,187 items for a total of 10,199 items.
  • You donated $100,530! All of this will help with insurances, storage, vehicle and maintenance repairs! And remember, with the exception of a single, part-time, seasonal employee, who we couldn’t do the job without, not a single officer or board member makes a single dime from the Mission! All time and effort is donated.

Simply incredible.

The feeling to see someone put something warm on their feet for the first time in a long time is hard to describe.

One of the most inspiring things about leading Sub Zero Mission is how the mission resonates with people and catches in their souls. When we travel to other cities like Buffalo, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Youngstown, we have partner teams with whom we work. From Sunday school I can remember a song that said, “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going. That’s how it is with God’s love.” When I see the way the Mission has caught on with these teams and in talking with some of you, I think of that song and the truth in it. And it inspires me and this team to work harder, go farther and do more.

We were not without adversity at times this season. Our aging buses failed us from time to time. This will continue to be a struggle until we can afford to purchase a newer fleet. As mentioned, we nearly had to move in the middle of our season. Weather turned us back more than once or forced us to park and lose valuable time when delivering. But, in all, it was a great season for giving. And give we did!

We look forward to seeing you all this upcoming year. By popular demand, we will again introduce the Annual Motorcycle Run and the Annual Golf Outing fundraisers to our event calendar.

On behalf of the Sub Zero Mission Board of Directors, our Events Committee, and our delivery team, The Blue Coat Missionaries, I thank you all for your constant and continued support! We don’t move an inch or help a single person without you!

Al “Sarge” Raddatz
The Sub Zero Mission