FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When Sally Segerson woke up this morning, she loaded 10 new pairs of winter boots into her van. She says each morning she does at least an hour and a half of laundry. All this before she goes to her day job. After hours, Sally is the founder of Street Reach for the Homeless, an organization she started nearly five years ago. She saw a Facebook ad asking for volunteers to help with the Fort Wayne Homeless Count which counts how many people are living somewhere that is not meant for human habitation (garage, car, woods, bench, bridge, etc.). She said before that, “They were invisible people to me. I drove over people too never realizing they’re homeless under that bridge.”
She started collecting donations and buying supplies with her own funds. Segerson said, “When I offered what was collected to other non-profits and said ‘Who will go out and give these to those people?’…Everyone will take them for who they serve. You then find this group of people who, no matter how good the intentions of every agency we have in this town, and they are fabulous, fall between the cracks. So how do we address the needs of those who are falling between the cracks? And that was the beginning of me.” Shortly thereafter she started a GoFundMe page which has raised over $48,000. She said the original goal was $5,000 because she had no idea how much support she would be able to get for Street Reach for the Homeless. As she approached that goal, she increased it another $5,000 and kept doing that. After three years, her current goal is $55,000.
Every Monday and Thursday year-round, she cooks a full meal for the homeless. During the summer she feeds over 100 people each night. After dinner, she provides whatever physical needs she can; hats, gloves, jeans, etc. from her van. She keeps the van stocked through donations and funds from the GoFundMe page that she can use to buy items she is missing. Here are Sally’s current donation sites for Street Reach for the Homeless.
Downtown at Pembroke Bakery in the Auer Building across from the Museum of Art
’07 Self Image in the Lighten Up Wellness Center on Fairfield (across from Bravas) Tues-Thurs noon – 5p
Hair Affair Salon, 6200 Bluffton Road (next door to PNC Bank) Hours are Monday through Friday 9am-6pm.
Saturday 8am-4pm, New Haven – Forever Friends Floral on Lincoln Highway West in the Del Mart Plaza,
Summit Hearing Solutions on Dupont by Coldwater
Elwood Staffing, 6422 Lima Road – right across from Meijer and just before the Marathon Station (Mon-Fri 8a-5p)
Sally’s mission to treat the people she’s serving with dignity and respect. That’s why she spends more than an hour every day doing laundry – so the clothes they get will be fresh and clean. “See them through my eyes,” she says, “so you see them as the son our daughter that you yourself might have. The brother or sister that you yourself might have. And then look to see how do you open your heart when you see.” She also is very intentional about going out to where these people are as opposed to a shelter or warming station. “We forget that there may just be everyday people out here that for whatever reason that larger group setting is not right for them. And they make that personal choice. Which they have as an individual the same as you and I would.” She mentioned addiction or mental health issues as possible reasons a person might not go to that large group setting, but the need to treat these people she wants to be treated is still there. She summed up her mission this way, “If you do not choose one of the cities warming centers, how do we make sure that you survive this winter?”