The Rev. Jim McClarey's service this morning at Savoy United Methodist will touch on his experience at One Winter Night, C-U's annual fundraiser for the homeless. After leaving his cardboard box at 6 a.m. Saturday, catching a bite to eat and coaching a basketball game, McClarey was kind enough to fill us in about the cold, kindness and last call.
"This was my third time, and each year you learn new things. We had a couple of homeless men — real homeless men — interact with us, and that was missing the previous two times. Rich and Steven. It was neat. They talked about what it was really like to be homeless. They stayed with us the whole night. No boxes for them.
"There was a lot of traffic and people walking by. Some hurry by and don't make eye contact but others stop and ask 'What are you doing?' Others give donations.
"I had a conversation with a mom and a dad and their two kids. We talked for 15-20 minutes and they ended up putting a $1,000 check in the envelope. I didn't know it at the time — they folded up the check — but, wow, that was pretty phenomenal. It told me there are people in the community who have the means to help, so they did. They're teaching their kids about giving, too.
"Between midnight and 2 a.m. the noise level went way up as people came out of the local establishments. It was a little frustrating. Some had too much to drink and were banging on the boxes we were in. They thought it was funny but it wasn't.
"Sleeping in a box is uncomfortable and not as cozy as home, but I'm low maintenance. I just didn't dress warm enough so I did get chilly."
"I like putting my money where my mouth is, not just talking about a solution but being part of the solution. I'm glad I did it."