Fundraisers for charitable causes come in many shapes and sizes. Typically, they require manpower and marketing costs that drastically reduce the size of each donation – a “necessary evil” most would believe. But no program puts a donated dollar to immediate use more efficiently and effectively than Fort Wayne’s Street Reach for the Homeless – a one-woman show providing “no questions asked” meals, clothing, hygiene items, blankets, and other basic living needs to Fort Wayne’s homeless citizens. While carrying a full-time job, Sally Becker Segerson spends much of her spare time caring for our homeless neighbors out of the back of her full-sized van. This fiercely passionate and loyal woman has been serving homeless folks for nearly 4 years, and it began on a winter’s day when she spotted a group of men and women living on the streets of Fort Wayne. Sally simply refused to turn her back on this group when this community’s nonprofits had done just that.
Waynedale resident, Kelley Beasley, heard about this woman and her mission early this year. After providing donations a few times, Kelley became determined to do a little more. She decided to organize a 5K Run/Walk to raise funds, donations, and awareness for Street Reach for the Homeless. Wanting to maximize every benefit this event could provide, her ‘signature’ for the 5K was to provide the unique opportunity for award winners to donate their awards (tents, shirts, socks) directly to Sally for her Street Reach mission.
On the muggy morning of August 23rd in Swinney Park, the inaugural Takin’ It To The Streets 5K Run/Walk became a reality. 15 race sponsors provided enough funding to cover all race expenses other than the participant t-shirts. A dozen or so volunteers assisted with registration, course marshaling, and the finish line. At the sound of the horn, 120 runners and walkers set out on the 2-loop makeshift course at 10:00am. The original course, following the St. Mary’s Pathway, became flooded and impassable after torrential rains came the day before the race.
Overall female winner, 13-year-old Alex Ebetino of New Haven, set the tone at the award ceremony by donating her award – a tent. 59 award winners (out of 60) followed suit and donated their awards to Street Reach. The award ceremony also provided the captive audience a fascinating insight to Sally’s mission as she spoke for about 10 minutes.
With over $400 of tents and clothing donated from the awards ceremony, the Streets 5K also raised over $1000 of cash, received additional race-day donations, and now has 150 race t-shirts promoting the program. Quite a success, but it’s only the start. Takin’ It To The Streets 5K will be back and even bigger in 2015, so mark your calendars for 8/29/15 (Saturday before Labor Day weekend)!
If you would like to learn more about Street Reach for the Homeless, go to Sally’s website at: gofundme.com/35skis