We had the good fortune of connecting with Hudson and Luke Elegant and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hudson and Luke, how does your business help the community?
The Miami Rescue Mission is a homeless shelter that provides food, shelter, clothing, toiletries, medical care, counseling, substance abuse treatment, tutoring, job training, employment, and a Miami Dade College education for Miami’s homeless community. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Miami Rescue Mission remained open. The Mission pivoted quickly when the pandemic began and implemented social distancing within its cafeteria, education center, and residential areas. Staff and residents are required to wear masks, and cleaning crews operate constantly. Daily Covid-19 testing is conducted, and residents testing positive are sent to hotel rooms. The Miami Rescue Mission also serves outdoor meals and provides portable restrooms and shower trucks for everyone in need, including those not living at the Mission. Thanks to the Mission, hundreds of struggling homeless individuals are being cared for when they easily could have been forgotten. It is difficult enough to successfully operate a homeless shelter under normal conditions, so it is incredible and inspiring to know that the Mission has remained open throughout the entire pandemic!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For the last 12 years, we have volunteered with the Miami Rescue Mission an organization that provides food, shelter, and life-changing educational and vocational programs for people experiencing homelessness in the Miami community. During that time, we have recruited and trained hundreds of volunteers, launched an online fundraising platform, tutored individuals for high school equivalency exams, facilitated a donation of 10,000 surgical face masks, and fundraised ($16,369 in 2020; $65,000 total to date). What sets us apart is our emphasis on promoting human connections in everything we do. Simply making eye contact or conversation can make people feel relevant and motivated to improve their lives. We emphasize this point whenever we train new volunteers. Especially with the physical and mental isolation stemming from COVID-19 pandemic, we were faced with the challenge of fostering meaningful connections between remote volunteers and the homeless residents. To solve this newfound problem and adapt during these unprecedented times, we established the “From the Heart” initiative. This program helps volunteers partner with elementary school students to write weekly personal messages to the Mission’s residents to combat the impossibility of in-person volunteering and to continue to allow volunteers to form relationships with the homeless individuals. With virtual alternatives like Zoom not financially feasible, “From the Heart” has really helped make positive change. Throughout our time with the Miami Rescue Mission, we have learned the importance of compassion and resilience. Having the opportunity to work with an organization that positivity impacts so many people in our community has been such a blessing. At the Mission, we have seen firsthand everything from an unemployed veteran attaining sobriety and going back to school to become an electrician to a homeless seventy-year-old man struggling to learn English to provide for his family. We understand that with encouragement and hope, anyone can achieve their goals. Even in the face of the pandemic, the Miami Rescue Mission is a beacon of hope for the Miami community.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The trip would start with Cuban toast and a game of Dominos in Little Havana, followed by beach volleyball and walking around Ocean Drive. After enjoying the sun and admiring the pristine Art Deco architecture, we would serve lunch at the Miami Rescue Mission and then walk two blocks north to The Wynwood Walls to tour the incredible graffiti wall art. Finally, the trip would not be complete without having dinner at Joe’s Stone Crabs and sandwiches at La Sandwicherie followed by a scenic bike ride from the South Pointe Park Pier up the Miami Beach boardwalk.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We would like to dedicate our shoutout to our mother, Jennifer. She has always been in our corner supporting our efforts and offering advice. As a professor of positive psychology, she constantly exudes a sense of optimism and gratitude that we incorporate into our own lives. We would not be where we are today without our mother. We love you.