Sally Becker Segerson is organizing this fundraiser.
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!