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Dedication Above and Beyond

Resist turning away
Resist turning awayPhoto by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Every Monday and Thursday, without fail, Sally Becker Segerson of Street Reach for the Homeless “Dinner and Duds” provides hot meals for all those people who are in need. Almost all of them are without a roof over their head. Sally has an incomparable devotion to her fellow man as she struggles every week, worrying whether the van or the “mobile boutique” will make it through the week. If the van is not at Preferred Auto getting repaired, it is filled with coats, sleeping bags, tents, socks, warm clothing and of course, a hot meal for 100 + people.

Sally continues to help against increasing odds. In her words, “I will need to purchase another round this weekend [of tents] as the waiting list continues . . . sigh . . . unbelievable number of new faces last night (am holding one of the 4 man tents for 2 gents that are expected to come to the streets at the end of the month).” Homelessness is increasing all over the country, and this means in the Fort, too. Unless one takes the time to notice these people who are suffering quietly because to admit their misery would be to admit defeat, the habit of turning heads away from the problem will remain.

Another kind of opposition seems more cruel and unreasonable. This goes along with the attitude that homelessness is brought on by laziness, addiction, and deviance. The Fort Wayne Police Department has made it a practice to target “Dinner and Duds” with the intention to find drugs. Sally states in her Facebook page, “Was greeted again by 5 of our finest from the FWPD close to 10 p.m. but this time obviously on a search for drugs. Cars came from 3 directions and a drug sniffing dog was included in the crew. Certainly, causes one to pause but asked all to remain calm and respectful. One gent was stopped, person searched, book bag searched but zero, zip, nada, airball. I have known this gent for years and have yet to even suspect any indiscretion so smiled as that was reaffirmed. Proud to say that as the rounds were made to each group who remained . . . all clear . . . all clean . . . and no one arrested.”

This is just a snapshot of how Sally Segerson pursues her mission and what she must endure to help those without the basic needs of life. Street Reach for the Homeless desperately needs donors. It needs many things, a new van foremost. Much of the restaurant community is willing to help Ms. Segerson with cooked meat and Italian cuisine, but it is critical that individuals are willing to donate money to her cause. She does much more than provide hot meals. She also keeps people warm and sheltered with socks, sleeping bags, coats and tents. To donate to Street Reach for the Homeless, go to http://www.gofundme.com/35skis. The page illustrates how forthcoming Sally is with the money that has been donated.

Fort Wayne, Indiana is a community that exemplifies middle-class America. Those who live here are proud of the values, charity, and honor that exists, yet for middle-class America there appears to be a threat of extinction. Sally says it best as she continues to be there for those who feel the foreshadowing of economic ruin. “. . . it takes an army of supporters . . . and I say thank you!! Thank you for helping to provide dignity to these often overlooked, invisible neighbors of ours. These men and women, who not so long ago, were so much like you and me. Each with a history, each with a story and each with hopes and dreams of a future that does not include the streets of Fort Wayne.”