Street Reach for the Homeless

$62,795 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 1,061 people in 59 months
My street ministry "Street Reach for the Homeless" began during the later half of the winter of 2011 when I saw a group of people, men and women, living on the streets of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who fell between the cracks and stepped forward as non profits in this community turned their backs. To have looked into the eyes of a homeless gent as I helped remove gloves nearly frozen to his fingers:to have seen the despair:the loneliness:.the fear:. then simply turned my back and decided it was someone else's problem would have been wrong and simply not a choice for me. My mission began as how best could I serve them? How could I encourage them to find hope, faith, and in turn meet their immediate needs with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings as I worked to help rebuild lives. My Street Reach for the Homeless was formed. No matter the reason or the weather conditions, and trust me, -15 wind chills this past winter were bone chilling, every Monday and Thursday evening I am there, under the stars, with a hot balanced meal and a van aka "mobile boutique" filled with new and gently used clothing, hygiene items, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, tarps as well as an open heart and a listening ear for anyone who stands in my line. No questions asked. Whether shelters are full, addictions rule, life experience or mental illness prevents them from trusting a shelter's intentions, I am there to meet them on their life's path with no judgments or preconceived notions. I serve nearly 100 people a week in the winter time, and now, as the temperatures rise, I serve more than 175 a week with the numbers climbing with multiple new faces as each week passes. I never ask why they are there or where they might live (though in the winter I may ask does an individual sleep inside or out when deciding on blanket/comforter choices, etc so I am sure to offer the thickest to those who sleep in the rough). Those I serve are comprised of men and women who sleep on the streets "“ under a bridge, on a bench, in a tent, behind a sheet of metal, under a stairwell, behind a dumpster, an abandoned building, etc - , the precariously housed sleeping on floors, couches, in attics or basements "“ invisible but sheltered, those who reside in a transitional shelter or our urban poor because no one should have to worry about where their next meal is coming. As the months have gone by, I have seen the issues"”and I have become a vocal advocate "“ and I have vowed to make a difference. Across this country we have people who are the most at risk"”the most humble of our homeless"”who are simply falling between the cracks "“ and in Fort Wayne Indiana they are my neighbors. They are human beings. They matter each and every day and they deserve our attention. On the streets I will stay as long as they stay, as long as "housing first" is not the standard in this city and until I can stay no longer. I ask for your support for those who truly are not asking for a handout but simply a hand up. God led and God protected. This is my passion:..this is my plea. God bless!
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The City's evictions of 10 homeless encampments continue as I feel certain I passed one location today, in action, but no time to stop as the "real job" calls. Dumpster diving awaits me later this week, again, as I strive to recycle as many blankets, comforters and sleeping bags as possible.

Rarely do I come for help but that time has come as we race to replace not only what has been taken but also serve those coming to the streets in the next few weeks as the Rescue Mission's winter contingency plan comes to an end.

Including the two emergency tents given out this weekend, the pair of non slip shoes for a gent who has secured a job, since the first of April, I have handed out 17 tents and 21 pairs of shoes.

It is only April 16th!! That's 17 "homes" for men and women of our community who live in the elements and only 21 pairs of shoes to replace the endless winter boots, all the while knowing many are still retaining theirs until this January in April season thing passes.

So I ask, so I beg, for your help. Your $5 that I can marry with someone else's $5 and once I have 5, I have another tent..... another sleeping bag.....another pair of tennis shoes.

That is all I am asking. $5 today to show these men and women that while Fort Wayne's administration may need to search for an ounce of compassion as they show only their cold hearts, that, as citizens, we care ..... We love .... We are blessed!!!

Thank you!
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Yesterday was Giving Tuesday and I was able to pass donations of 30 needed winter hats, a dozen pairs of gloves and dozen scarves for FWCS through Kellie Strahm Hoffer. No sooner were those on their way than I receive a text from Tony Johnston saying he was on his way with winter hats, gloves, coat and socks via a donor in Hoagland. God wink!!

This morning began with a quick drop downtown of 5 bags of winter coats, hoodies, sweatshirts and some of the winter hats and socks just donated to Wayne Twp Trustee office where a clothing bank is maintained for those they serve as well as those I serve calling the elements "home".

In the course of today, donations have been dropped by Phyllis Strahm (sleeping bag), anonymous donor 2 boxes of much needed handwarmers and Melissa Rinehart and family (comforter, tents, insulated unders and more).

My thanks to all who donated to my gofundme page on Giving Tuesday, to all who have contacted me today with future events and all who have crossed my path with tangibles that warm my heart.

My thanks, today, goes to my unnamed "real job" employer who has agreed to a few hours off Friday morning as I stand at one of the six named eviction sites as an advocate for those who call that site "home" as this city mandates the dismantlement of those very encampments and seizes the property of anyone living there at the time.

Fighting the good fight. Making a difference with your support along the graciousness and goodness of our Lord.

God bless.
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Well, let’s see, last night’s Street Reach for the Homeless “Dinner and Duds” excursion was wet……as in W-E-T…..oh by the way, did I mention wet?!?

Good golly Miss Molly it was character building to say the least and yet in the midst of the wind….the rain….the less than fabulous small shelter we are now using…..there they were….men and women (new faces and old) waiting for a hot meal or something dry from the van (comforters in nearly all cases). Once we were soaked bringing everything from the van to the “dining area”, I spotted what I believe might be closer parking and using a possibly unintentional “hole” in fencing (where there is a will there is a way so going to try that route on Thursday night when I return.

With the smaller group due to weather we did not pull all from the van. Pulled a total of 4 gallons of beverages but left lugging the case of bottled water behind. Fresh fruit was sacrificed with everyone wanting to finish the remaining 35+ decadent brownies from Thanksgiving night. There were enough beef meatballs in gravy for 40 (my estimate for max I would see with the rain), 10 pounds of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and 8 pounds of creamy mac n cheese for the taking. Went through 3 loaves of sandwich style white bread as each “meatball meal” was served manhattan style on a slice of white bread, mashed potatoes with meatballs and gravy smothering all. Chips were available for everyone and in the midst of it all with wind and rain hitting from all sides but overhead, they ate, we managed and all survived……sigh

From the van, in addition to the dry comforters, came socks and hats and for the very last gent to arrive on bicycle nearly a half hour later, one emergency rain poncho as he had nearly 4 miles of riding to do before he was “home”.
For myself, hair was dripping, jeans soaked through and yet blessed to be able to hop in my van and travel to my humble abode (first thing changed on my end was the wet fleece and sweatshirt as I decided that was top priority). Blessed to have a roof over my head and heat to warm the body. Blessed to have dry clothes to change into. Blessed to take a hot shower this morning as one gent last night took all beverage jugs to hold water as he has none. Blessed to have the support of so many who keep this street ministry alive.
On this giving Tuesday (I passed the giving on this morning and gave to Kellie Hofer) please consider a $5 gift of giving for those I serve…..for those men and women…..who call the streets of this city, their “home”.

God bless.
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With thanks to a former Saints on the Streets member, Tuesday night, after the City Council meeting downtown, I picked up 10 pounds of pulled pork, at least 10 pounds of baked beans and several half pans of mac n cheese from a graduation party (along with a few unnamed players that headed to the freezer for a future meal).

Fast forward to tonight’s Street Reach for the Homeless “Dinner and Duds” and you guessed it ……. pulled pork sandwiches or manhattans …. simply haven’t yet decided. Made it to Gordon Food Service last night and picked up an additional 25 pounds of pork (currently doing the loooow and sloooow in the roaster while I am at work) to be sure I would have enough for those who join me tonight. Monday’s near 125 peeps has me leaning toward manhattans to be sure I can stretch and will soon have to decide.

Last night did a final shoe and tent shopping spree in prep for tonight because when I dropped bags at the Wayne Twp Accessors office clothing bank, yesterday morning before work, I was met by two gents in need of tents in the pouring rain.

So 2 tents, with 2 tarps each – and a pair of size 13 tennis shoes in addition for one) went their way. 3 just purchased tents were loaded into the van this morning along with another 5 pairs of “clearance” shoes. Bargain!!!

This morning, again, before work, I met Sherry Meyers with Huntertown UMC for a swap in the parking lot of Harbor Freight where I was buying 6 more camo colored tarps to join the blue tarps I purchased at Walmart last night.

Back of the van is packed with my remaining comforters (purchased last week from Salvation Army 50% off sale) and know Goodwill sale will see me this weekend as I try to restock.

Always more than just Monday nights and Thursday nights. Always working to make a difference in someone’s life.

God bless.
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Read a Previous Update
Therese Renner
39 months ago
1
1

As a monthly supporter, I would hope this doesn't get closed. The need is definitely ongoing!

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Ramsey Dave Kristal
16 months ago

Hi my is dave ramsey im having serious issues with my 2 yr old daughter and i have seen the wonderful job on your gofund me i was wondering if u have any tips because my 2 yr old daughters life depend on a machine that the hospital wants to take back thursday and i dont know if im going anything wrong im about to sell whatever i can and have no christmas BECAUSE i dont seem to be able to do this right if u can possibly look over my gofundme account and maybee give me a few pointers it would be highly appreciated it under my facebook the name is kristal david ramsey. Thank you for reading this god bless for what u do for the homless

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William A. Otis
17 months ago

Does anyone know how to make their donation monthly? I'm not seeing that option.

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Angie Hockenberry
39 months ago

Bless you for all that you do!

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Sally Becker Segerson
39 months ago

A Donations every month. My updates appear weekly on facebook. thank you for your concern.

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James Anderson
39 months ago

No updates in almost a year shouldn't this fundraiser be closed?

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Judith
4 months ago

https://www.gofundme.com/unAngelennuestrocamino. please donate and share

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Justin
4 months ago

https://www.gofundme.com/project-integration similar cause.. we are trying to take this both nationally and globally

+ Read More
Penny
4 months ago

https://www.gofundme.com/4sasunk?pc=fm_co_dashboard_a&rcid=45e5b948ae48489d9d342c97f0934b30

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AH
Alan Halat
11 months ago

I think what you are doing is great. Our official and verified organization is doing almost the same thing. We are reaching out to thousands of homeless teens and the elderly. Thank you for caring about your area as we do ours. gofundmeDOTcom/vesct - Please check us out and remove the DOT and replace it with a normal period.

+ Read More
Therese Renner
16 months ago

William A Otis, I believe after your first donation they send an email with an option to make it a monthly gift. I don't remember anymore. Sally?

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$62,795 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 1,061 people in 59 months
Created June 5, 2013
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Therese Renner
39 months ago
1
1

As a monthly supporter, I would hope this doesn't get closed. The need is definitely ongoing!

+ Read More
Ramsey Dave Kristal
16 months ago

Hi my is dave ramsey im having serious issues with my 2 yr old daughter and i have seen the wonderful job on your gofund me i was wondering if u have any tips because my 2 yr old daughters life depend on a machine that the hospital wants to take back thursday and i dont know if im going anything wrong im about to sell whatever i can and have no christmas BECAUSE i dont seem to be able to do this right if u can possibly look over my gofundme account and maybee give me a few pointers it would be highly appreciated it under my facebook the name is kristal david ramsey. Thank you for reading this god bless for what u do for the homless

+ Read More
William A. Otis
17 months ago

Does anyone know how to make their donation monthly? I'm not seeing that option.

+ Read More
Angie Hockenberry
39 months ago

Bless you for all that you do!

+ Read More
Sally Becker Segerson
39 months ago

A Donations every month. My updates appear weekly on facebook. thank you for your concern.

+ Read More
James Anderson
39 months ago

No updates in almost a year shouldn't this fundraiser be closed?

+ Read More
Judith
4 months ago

https://www.gofundme.com/unAngelennuestrocamino. please donate and share

+ Read More
Justin
4 months ago

https://www.gofundme.com/project-integration similar cause.. we are trying to take this both nationally and globally

+ Read More
Penny
4 months ago

https://www.gofundme.com/4sasunk?pc=fm_co_dashboard_a&rcid=45e5b948ae48489d9d342c97f0934b30

+ Read More
AH
Alan Halat
11 months ago

I think what you are doing is great. Our official and verified organization is doing almost the same thing. We are reaching out to thousands of homeless teens and the elderly. Thank you for caring about your area as we do ours. gofundmeDOTcom/vesct - Please check us out and remove the DOT and replace it with a normal period.

+ Read More
Therese Renner
16 months ago

William A Otis, I believe after your first donation they send an email with an option to make it a monthly gift. I don't remember anymore. Sally?

+ Read More
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