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Penny Pitch

Photo Credit: Jess Stauffer

You did it, WOWOLand! Last year you helped raise $171,904.13 for Community Harvest Food Bank and Super Shot. It was MATCHED to $343,808.00 thanks to Brigadoon Fitness and this year, we want to do it again! 

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): During Fort Wayne’s Morning News, Tuesday, Oct. 31, WOWO announced The Shepherd’s House as this year’s Penny Pitch Recipient. Shepherd’s house is the ONLY Penny Pitch recipient this year which means all of the money raised will go directly towards their efforts to provide temporary housing for homeless military veterans living with addictions.

Kenny and Tracey Barr, House Mangers of Shepherd’s House

Shepherd’s House has been around since 1998, founded by Bard and Lonnie Cox. The primary focus on veterans has really taken hold over the past 10 years. For the past five years, Kenny and Tracey Barr have lived in the facility, located at 519 Tennessee Avenue, as House Managers. They have dedicated their lives to helping rebuild the lives of those that have served.

“Kenny and I have lived here as house mangers for five years… and we are invested. This is our family… we are here pretty much 24/7 for whatever they need,” said Tracey.

Shepherd’s House can hold roughly 40 veterans. During their stay, the men will get the help the need, whether it be medical, financial, educational, social, etc. The goal is to help the men become productive members within the community.

Photo Supplied: Shepherd’s House

“My family is tied in with the military and the deeper I got into this homeless veteran thing, the more it became apparent that these guys are getting a bummed deal. They are not getting treated the way the promise was said…  and this is our way of helping them and giving back,” said Kenny. “To run this place, it takes about a half-million a year. Its a tough budget for housing 40 guys.”

The organization fell on tough financial times earlier this year as the Department of Veterans Affairs denied their grant application for about $496,000. A last-minute, one-year grant extension from the VA was approved, but that only assures that the faith-based shelter can support their residents or future residents for one more year, should the VA not approve next year’s funding request.

RELATED: Shepherd’s House for homeless veterans grant denied

Watch as Kenny and Tracey find out the non-profit organization was going to be selected. During the interview, they had NO IDEA Shepherd’s House was going to be named 2017’s Penny Pitch recipient.

WOWO’s first big fundraising push will be during the Fort Wayne Komets hockey game on November 23. WOWO staffers and Shepherd’s House volunteers will be accepting donations before and after the game.

Some other important dates to keep in mind for this year’s Penny Pitch campaign are as follows:

Phil’s One Stop Gas Pump: December 1

Penny Pitch Class Challenge: December 4-8

Penny Pitch Radiothon: December 14-15 
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The History of Penny Pitch: 

Since 1948, WOWO has asked people throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan to contribute pennies, nickels, dimes or more to help families within the WOWO listening area.

Penny Pitch began after World War II when a simple request came to WOWO to help a young quadriplegic buy a special typewriter so he could pursue a writing career.

A request was made over the air for listeners to donate their pennies. The response was so overwhelming that more than enough was raised to help the young man.

Thus, Penny Pitch was born.

Over the next few years, momentum grew as the Tri-State area adopted Penny Pitch as their own local charitable effort. Each year, local families were chosen as the recipients of Penny Pitch.

Funds continued to grow until it became necessary to incorporate Penny Pitch into a non-profit corporation providing benefits for those who contribute large amounts.

Now, 69 years after the first Penny Pitch began, the corporation provides grants to qualified not-for-profit organizations that serve disadvantaged people in the Fort Wayne, Allen County and Northeast Indiana region.

As the longest running local charity benefiting area families, Penny Pitch is loved by listeners who give generously every year.

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