At this time of year when so many of us gather around tables that seem to overflow with delicious food and drink, it may or may not occur to us that there are people right here in our own community who spend much of their time just getting enough to keep themselves fed from one day to the next.
Someone who does understand this is Sally Becker Segerson. As the founder and CEO of Fort Wayne’s Street Reach for the Homeless Sally has, since 2012, been travelling the streets of Fort Wayne helping the homeless with needed clothing, equipment, and food. The staff at the Wayne Township Trustee Office got to know Sally first through her relationship with our Clothing Emporium (a free clothing bank run by Patsy Brewer, executive secretary to Trustee Austin Knox). Sally would periodically drop by in her van to donate and to pick up clothes for the folks she was meeting on the streets.
Earlier this year Trustee Knox invited Forward Indiana, the company behind all of the colorful pantries that have popped up around town, to install one of their pantries in front of our office. The idea behind the Forward Indiana pantries (besides placing whimsical public art pieces around town) is that people can come and find food and paper products or they can contribute by leaving items in the pantry.
When Sally Segerson learned that Wayne Township was hosting one of these pantries she became one of its regular contributors. Because we are well-known as a place to come when people are in need, Sally made our pantry a kind of hub and started coming almost daily to help stock it up.
I keep up with Sally by following her Facebook posts on her Street Reach for the Homeless’ page. Here’s some of what she wrote after coming to our pantry this Thanksgiving:
“Thanksgiving morning was on a Thursday (my day to fill) so I did everything I could do to make it a special morning at the Forward Indiana pantry at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office – Fort Wayne…
I arrived a bit after 7:45 a.m. and one gent from the elements (told me he had slept against the building last night to cut the wind) and 5 “under roof” peeps were also waiting. As I began to fill, 2 more “under roof” joined us and once nearly all had left, the 8th person came walking up. So, 8 people in about 30 minutes made my morning.
When I arrived one gal had straightened up the panty and she helped me stock but as I told her, this is mostly all new, so we’ll figure out the “where” as items keep coming from the van.
The gent from the elements opened his pack of cheddar cheese first, and holding up a single piece of cheese, said “this cheese is so good.” Heart melt and my morning was complete.
We all wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving and each headed out in their own direction. After all had left, the gent from the elements remained and he asked about a new pair of shoes. His feet were freezing as he was in wet mesh shoes and what I know were damp socks. So, while I don’t hand out shoes at the pantry, I did for this new face along with a dry pair of socks. He could NOT have been more grateful.”
It really is heartwarming to know there are people like Sally and those at Forward Indiana who are out there caring for those who need help with the basics. Thank you!!
Finally, I want to remind everyone that Wayne Township will be holding a Ham/Turkey Giveaway on Thursday, December 16 at our offices on 320 East Superior. If you need a main course for your next holiday feast please stop by.