Lifestyle

Author helps raise $4,000 for Reach Out homeless shelter

Author Richard LeMieux listens to others speak about the plight homeless men and women face every day during a Nov. 7 fundraising event for Reach Out, the city
Author Richard LeMieux listens to others speak about the plight homeless men and women face every day during a Nov. 7 fundraising event for Reach Out, the city's only overnight shelter for homeless men. LeMieux's dog, Willow, was by his side during the time he was homeless. She now accompanies LeMieux when he speaks about his experiences.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

A Nov. 7 fundraiser, geared toward continual funding of Federal Way's only overnight shelter for homeless men, proved profitable.

Reach Out raised about $4,000 of the needed $10,000 to keep the shelter in operation through March. The contributions came from the sale of Richard LeMieux's book "Breakfast at Sally's" as well as handmade jewelry. Donations were also accepted.

LeMieux spoke to the crowd gathered at Calvary Lutheran Church. He told of his descent from riches to homelessness. He recounted the years he spent homeless on Bremerton's streets and how the Salvation Army (known as Sally's among the homeless), his dog Willow and his acquired friends helped him get his life back in order. He also spoke about the importance of hope.

"Homeless people are just people without a home and who need hope," LeMieux said.

LeMieux brought Willow along with him to the fundraiser. A handful of advocates working at the Bremerton Salvation Army during the time LeMieux was homeless in the early 2000s also spoke to the crowd.

More funding is still needed to provide shelter and meals for Federal Way's homeless men throughout the cold months. The men are sheltered at local churches by volunteers. They are screened and provided access to a case manager. They are also fed dinner and breakfast, and are given a sack lunch the next morning. Screening for the shelter is handled from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays at the South Sound Dream Center, located inside Bible Fellowship Church at 1336 S. 336th St.

This is the shelter's second winter in operation. Last year, Reach Out leaders helped 12 men find housing, five men find a job, seven men receive job training or educational support, and 11 men find additional public services, according to information provided at the fundraiser.

Learn more

To volunteer or get more information, contact Nancy Jaenicke at (253) 927-5548.

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