Rockin’ Rescue Night Out: Helping People Experiencing Homelessness
POSTED BY Scott O’Sullivan
November 19, 2020
ColoradoEventsIn The News
The O’Sullivan Law Firm has been a longtime supporter of an annual event that supports the Denver Rescue Mission. It is called the Rockin’ Rescue Night Out (RRNO) and last year, we raised $35,000, which enabled over 30 families to find homes in Denver.
This year we need to up our game – a lot – and we must do it in a pandemic. We’re hoping this story compels you to get involved and talk to your friends, too!
First, a Little Background
In 1997, a friend of Scott O’Sullivan’s, Dan Davis, felt a calling to do something for the people he saw living on the streets of Denver.
“I lived downtown and saw firsthand those experiencing homelessness,” says Dan. “I wanted to do something and give back, so in 1997, I started the first RRNO in a warehouse on Larimer Street. Eight people showed up, and I raised $80.”
Dan kept hosting the event and donating 100% of every dime he made to the Denver Rescue Mission. The event grew annually. However, the big leap in dollars came when Dan teamed up with a buddy named Robert Pywell and the two started seeking corporate sponsorships. Now, in addition to the gifts made by individuals who attended the (very fun) annual event, they were able to raise bigger dollars for the cause.
Around 2014, Dan asked Scott to serve as a corporate sponsor through his law firm. He also asked Scott to serve as emcee for the growing event.
“As humans, we are called to serve those among us who need our help,” says Scott. “If we can help, we should! I absolutely love this event because I know that every single dime earned goes straight to people who desperately need it.”
Today, the RRNO typically sees an attendance of around 100 to 175 people and, last year, it raised $35,000!
According to Blake Nauman, Philanthropy Officer with the Denver Rescue Mission, the event’s impact is tremendous.
“We estimate that it takes about $1,000 to place a family in a home, provide rent assistance and get them on their feet,” says Blake. “The Rockin’ Rescue Night Out helped us to fully house 30-plus families last year. That is a huge impact.”
Blake continues, “This group also helps raise awareness of families and individuals who are struggling to maintain housing. It’s very impressive how much impact this grassroots group has had on our community.”
The Need Has Grown
Due to the global coronavirus outbreak, Denver has seen an increase in people experiencing homelessness.
Because Denver’s shelters combined forces in the spring and consolidated sheltering capabilities at the National Western Complex, Blake says it’s hard for the Denver Rescue Mission to compare apples to apples when it comes to the number of people served year over year. But the city is clearly experiencing an increase in the number of people who are experiencing homelessness.
“Prior to COVID,” says Blake, “we were sheltering 550 to 650 people per night. That number has increased to 750 or more at National Western, throughout the first few months of the pandemic. Those are all men; the women are sheltered by Catholic Charities at a separate location.”
Overall, with all forces combined at the National Western facility, Blake shared the following statistics:
LIFE-SAVING IMPACT TO-DATE At National Western (April 9 to late July):
2,950+ unique individuals visited the auxiliary shelter
77,239 nights of shelter provided
198,000+ meals served
Sadly, these numbers are expected to rise substantially when evictions begin again in early 2021.
Even in a Pandemic, RRNO Must Go On!
Clearly, the need for support has never been greater. But the obstacles to hosting a successful event have probably never been tougher, either. The coronavirus outbreak demands that we protect those most vulnerable among us, including donors who may have conditions that prevent them from attending an event.
Organizers have mulled over this for weeks and decided to move the event online. You can still donate and participate in the online auction… all from the comfort of your couch! Here are the ways that you can participate:
Make a donation. Do this right now or any time the mood strikes you between now and December 3 at 8 pm. https://event.gives/rrno13
Join the online auction. The auction will be open from 10 am on November 26 through 8 pm December 3. The auction will close at 8 pm MST. Mark your calendar and visit this site on November 26: https://event.gives/rrno13
Do both of the above!
Questions: Contact Dan Davis at 720-413-9746.
As in past years, the organizers will take absolutely nothing from the proceeds to pay for the event itself. Every dollar raised goes to the Denver Rescue Mission.
Scott says, “I’ve been friends with the owners of Dirty Dogs Roadhouse for years through Rider Justice, my firm’s motorcycle outreach organization, and they are honored to join us this year. My hope is that this new venue enables us to expand our reach to new audiences, raising more awareness about the plight of people facing homelessness in Denver.”
While this event has been one of the great callings of Dan’s life, this year it feels more imperative than ever.