FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): The 2017 WOWO Penny Pitch raised a total of $176,407 for a Fort Wayne organization that helps homeless veterans this week.
Capping off a campaign that officially started on Thanksgiving night, WOWO listeners, area business leaders, local elected officials, and Federated Media staff all came together to pitch in donations for the Shepherd’s House during a two-day radiothon Thursday and Friday.
The Shepherd’s House is a transitional home for homeless veterans, with a specific focus on those struggling with addictions. Veterans helped by the organization receive counseling, job training, help breaking their addictions, food and shelter as they get their lives back together.
“It’s been a great ride the last two days,” said Tracey Barr. Tracey and her husband Kenny Barr are the current managers of the House, which was founded in 1998 by Barb and Lonnie Cox.
“There have not been words created to express our heartfelt appreciation that all of the WOWO angels and the WOWO community have accomplished in two days,” said Barb Cox.
Over the past five years, the Barrs have lived at the facility at 519 Tennessee Avenue as House Managers. They have dedicated their lives to helping rebuild the lives of those who have served.
“We are invested,” Tracey Barr said. “This is our family. We are here pretty much 24/7 for whatever they need.”
The House can hold roughly 40 veterans.
The House, which has been active in Fort Wayne for a number of years, saw its future threatened when the Department of Veterans Affairs initially revoked their yearly grant funding, which amounts to 90% of the House’s annual budget.
Area lawmakers intervened and got the House a one-year extension, but the need remained, which is why the House was chosen as the sole recipient of WOWO’s annual Penny Pitch effort.
You can still donate, as the campaign runs through December 31st, by clicking here or texting the word “Penny” to 46862.
(Kayla Blakeslee also contributed to this report)