Al Raddatz Founder and CEO of the Sub Zero Mission

Annual Year-end message

From Al Raddatz, Sub Zero Mission CEO

The arrival of Spring has brought to close another fantastic year for us! Since my last annual update, we have had an exciting year of growth, fulfillment and learning. In fact, we accomplished so much, I can hardly believe how quickly this year went by!

The 2017 Off-season

The new Conference Room makes it easier to hold board meetings.

After we finished deliveries in March 2017, the end of an AWESOME year for us, we knew we had to address several issues. We needed more storage space. We needed a newer, more dependable, and larger bus. We wanted to help somebody escape homelessness with our own empowerment plan.

Accomplishing these goals would take energized fundraising events, teamwork and planning. We also needed to find ways to conserve our limited human resources as much as possible.

The season barely ended before the work on our expansion began. By assuming the primary rental responsibility for the building, at 1760 North Ridge Rd in Painesville Ohio, we were able to expand into a larger segment of the structure.

In fact, we doubled our storage space, added a conference and training room, installed a locker room and team gathering area, and set up an office space. To defray the increased cost, we rented out unused space to several local businesses.

The new locker area makes it easier for the Blue Coat Missionaries to prepare for deliveries.

Our conference room has also been rented out for use with drug and alcohol counselling.

Our team banded together to get the work done with very little paid contractor work. This included assembling shelves, painting, and drywalling. This took hours of effort.

In the end, we have a headquarters that we are proud of!

Another major project was also started once the deliveries ended in March. The board worked extra hard to get the organization certified by the Better Business Bureau as a trusted charity. We came away with the BBB Wise Giving Choice 5-star level. We had to clear 20 requirements to be awarded that level.

Truly another accomplishment to be proud of.


Fundraising increased nearly 100% from a year ago

The Events and Fundraising Team set forth with planning, staffing, and executing several very successful annual events. We held a motorcycle run in June, had a booth all three days of the Painesville Party in the Park in July, staffed a booth at Deerassic Classic in August, hosted two pancake breakfasts and a Golf Outing in September, began our Stuff the Bus events in October, ran a Reverse Raffle in November until, finally, we began our deliveries to the homeless in early December.In all, we raised $199,414 through direct monetary donations and fundraising events. Our overall operational costs, which includes the delivery of all collected items and administrative costs (rent, utilities, insurances, etc.) were held to $181,658. This leaves us with a little money to begin the planning and fundraising for events in our off-season.

This is just outstanding! As always, we thank all of the people who support us through donations, attend our fundraisers and meet us at our Stuff the Bus events!

The Pamela Dawn

To fulfill our need for a new bus to be ready for us to deliver in December, we initiated a Go Fund Me account. We were able to raise nearly $42,000 and it was used to purchase a 2010 International bus with only 50,000 miles. Once equipped and painted, The Pamela Dawn, as we call her, was introduced into service. We deployed her and the team on 15 service missions this year, including the maiden voyage to Columbus. (See photos and a video from that trip) Our delivery team in Gemma and TPD delivered in three states and deployed over 40 times.

You can see how generous people were with item donations and how many were helped:

We distributed more than 6200 warming items over 40 runs.

  • Coats – 1263
  • Boots – 369
  • Hats – 1317
  • Gloves – 1074
  • Sleeping Bags – 312
  • Tents – 55
  • Survivor Bags – 30
  • Socks (new only) – 1713
  • Other items – 137

Total donations received:

  • Hats – 2600
  • Coats – 1425
  • Gloves – 900
  • Boots – 165
  • Sleeping Bags – 250

Supplemental inventory through wholesale purchase:

  • Hats – None
  • Coats – 600
  • Gloves – 576
  • Boots – 295
  • Sleeping Bags – 100

Also, many usable items, like sweaters, sweatshirts, blankets/comforters were re-donated to other local shelters and were not tracked in the above counts as we had in years past.

Sub Zero Heroes

Our team works with many other charities each year. We also have a number of people who help us when we go to other cities.This year, after working several seasons together, the team in Youngstown was ready to take the next step of applying for their own 501c3 designation. From our work together, The Youngstown Blue Coats were born! We did our part to ensure their success through training, donations of warming items, etc. In fact, we donated a bus to them to help them safely complete their missions, even donating money to help make necessary upgrades and repairs! We see the team in Youngstown as our partners and we hope to help them any way that we can!


We also took on a new local project. We assisted Catholic Charities in Ashtabula County this past January with the Homeless Point-in-Time count, which helps determine grant funding. We were able to use both buses and several Blue Coat Missionaries to help count and serve homeless.

True Empowerment

One final item that we are most proud of from our season was our first run at empowering a homeless person. For those who follow us on social media, we hope that you enjoyed the story of James and his service dog, D.C.I had the pleasure of meeting James and D.C. while walking in Willoughby in the Fall. They were between rides while making their way west. I offered a ride to the west side of Cleveland and through some conversation, I discovered that James was a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict. We felt that there may be a way he could help us with his knowledge of homelessness. We felt that we could help them by helping find temporary residence and offering a part time job with our team. James and DC helped us during the days to separate donated warming items and prepare the buses and equipment for our nightly missions. They went out with us on missions and were instrumental in helping to find and serve many homeless camps and people. Before they headed west to continue their journey, we helped them take ownership of a donated car.

Additionally, we helped James recover necessary items like lost paperwork for his service dog status, re-instate his driver’s license and, most importantly, to take that first step towards re-engaging in society and the workforce.

Of all the tasks we performed, nothing has made us more proud than empowering James and DC!


Thank you!

What an incredible year it was! Thank you all for taking a moment to read about it! And thank you for your continued to support of our Mission. The Sub Zero Mission does not move one foot without caring supporters like you. We will continue to do everything we can to serve our homeless, to find our homeless veterans and to use your donations in a way that makes you proud!Sincerely,

Al “Sarge” Raddatz
The Sub Zero Mission

“Nobody Should Freeze to Death in America”