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Breakfast with “Shoe Bob” Fisher and Matthew Sikich November 11th, 2008

The Duchess of Earle has just returned from a very early morning breakfast with “Shoe Bob” Fisher of Bob’s Shoe Repair shop and Bob’s SleepOut (for the Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, or ICOP) and Matthew Sikich of the Dreambuilders Club.  Matthew’s travel business regularly donates vacation certificates to organizations looking to raise funds (these certificates are often auctioned off) and it was for this reason that the Duchess invited these two gentleman to meet with her over breakfast this morning, in the hopes that the IOCP’s November 22nd sleepout In Cars with the Stars could be benefitted.  As previously mentioned on this blog, former Minnesota Twins player Corey Koskie will also be on hand to welcome the sleepout participants and share breakfast with them in the morning. 

Anyone looking to donate in support of this cause or desiring to register for the event can contact the IOCP directly by clicking here.  For the Schedule of events for this fund-raising season, please click here

The Duchess thanks you for investigating this project and for considering contributing!  When you contact them, please tell them the Duchess sent you! 

November 8th, 2008

The Duches of Earle just found this posting about the Nov. 22nd, 2008, Sleep Out with Bob Fisher and Corey Koskie on the Wayzata, Minnesota, website.  Apparently there are sleep outs that go on all over the community for over a month.  After all, the goal is $2 million.  More power to ’em! says the Duchess.  :) 

Saturday, November 08, 2008
13th Annual Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners (IOCP) Sleep Out Kickoff
From the Wayzata Bay Window, Winter 2008 Edition.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Novomber 15 At Klapprich Park. Join IOCP to kick off The Sleep Out 2008 Campaign. The need has never been greater. IOCP is relying on the generosity, heart, and will of this community to meet its $2 million goal. Kare 11 Anchor Mike Pomeranz will emcee the event that includes free food, music, and speakers, including Bob Fisher, affordable housing advocate, and LaDonna Hoy, executive director of IOCP. During the Sleep Out, people gather pledges and sleep out in a tent at IOCP or host sleep outs at their churches, schools, businesses, homes and in their neighborhoods.

The campaign, runs Nov. 15-Dec. 23 to create greater awareness around the
issue of affordable housing and to ensure that IOCP can respond to the increased demand for some form of housing assistance in our community.

To learn more and to donate, go to, call 952-404-9388, or make a donation by sending your check to IOCP, 110 Grand Ave.,Wayzata MN 55391.

The Sleep Out in Wayzata on Nov. 22 with Corey Koskie and “Shoe Bob” Fisher November 8th, 2008

The Duchess of Earle had a conversation with “Shoe Bob” Fisher of Bob’s Shoe Repair Shop in Wayzata, Minnesota, yesterday.  She shared with him that she had put up a post about his upcoming event.  He was pleasantly surprised – not knowing that the Duchess does such things as this – and expressed his appreciation. 

Bob has come to be a man of some renown in this community, even on a state-wide level.  Consider that, in 2004, he was nominated as one of ten finalists for recognition by the local Volvo dealerships.  The ultimate award went to another individual, but Bob received $500 for his charity’s purposes as a result of his nomination.  Here is what the press release said at the time:

“Judges selected the three winners from 10 finalists. The remaining finalists, who each received $500 charitable contributions during the awards ceremony, include:

— Bob Fisher, 55, Wayzata, a shoe repairman who has raised more than $2 million for affordable housing programs by sleeping in a tent for several days — and often weeks — each winter.

“Fisher’s first sleep-out in 1997 has snowballed into a community wide effort, with scores of other people and businesses “sleeping out” for the cause.”

Two million dollars he’d raised! – and that was three years ago. 

The Duchess thought perhaps a little more info is in order.  This data comes from a flyer Bob gave the Duchess when she stopped into the shop a few days ago.

The purpose of the sleep out is to elevate the level of awareness of the local housing and funding needs of the Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP), which provides emergency housing assistance for low-income families and individuals in the suburbs that lie to the west of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The IOCP offers housing assistance that prevents homelessness for about 700 households every year.  That’s a lot of families!  Most of these families need assistance for only a month or two before they’re able to be own their own again and the average cost of the assistance is $569. 

The whole idea about sleeping in the cars is that many folks are forced to slumber in their vehicles after they’ve been evicted from their dwellings – not exactly the most comfortable night a person can have (the Duchess can speak here from personal experience – but that’s another story).  Former Minnesota Twins player, Corey Koskie, and Bob Fisher chose a sleep out in cars for just this reason.  The goal for this one evening is to raise $56,900, which – using that average $569 figure – would be enough to spare 100 families this unhappy experience in the coming year.

If you’re in the Twin Cities area and would like to participate in raising these funds to benefit families, you’ll need to register with the IOCP by contacting Jill at or calling her at 952-404-9388.  The Duchess is willing to bet that, even if you cannot make it to the sleep out in person, Jill would likely accept your donation.  If you do so, the Duchess would be delighted if you’d share with her how you found out about them.

So, friends, please consider how you might share either from your wallet or your heart – whether you could offer funds or a gift of your time in gathering some pledges and coming down to Wayzata Bay Shopping Center on Nov. 22 to tough it out overnight for the privilege of an early breakfast with Corey and Bob – and the satisfaction of knowing you’re sparing some family a similar experience.

Thanks to all my readers for your consideration – and your action! :)

An Invitation to All from the Duchess of Earle and “Shoe Bob’ Fisher November 5th, 2008

This is a bit off the beaten path for the Duchess of Earle, but here goes:

A few days ago, the Duchess of Earle was out with her Duke, assisting him in the work he was doing refurbishing a leather sofa in a swanky home on the shores of Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Minnetonka.  On the way through the area after they were done, the Duke and Duchess stopped at the Bob’s Shoe Repair shop in Wayzata to say hello to the shop owner, Bob Fisher, from whom they have been receiving business referrals for a year or two.  (This began when Bob put up a sign in his front window saying that his shop now offers repair for leather furniture.  Bob himself only works on small leather goods and luggage, but he and his team graciously refer the big stuff on to the Duke – and Bob’s generosity has been indeed been a blessing.) 

Now, you may not know who Bob Fisher is, but if you live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, you may recognize the name ‘Shoe Bob.’  And if you know that name, you may also recall that Bob has been engaged for some years now in raising funding for the homeless.  This all started out when he decided to sleep out in his tent in his back yard about a decade ago.  It all turned into a spiritual journey for Bob – and others in the Wayzata community – and a benefit for those in need.

While chatting with him that afternoon, Bob offered an invitation for the fund-raising event this year and the Duchess thought she would share it with you.  The invitation is for November 22nd.  Bob is teaming up with former Minnesota Twins player Corey Koskie to have a sleep-out in cars in the parking lot at the Wayzata Bay Shopping Center , which is the location of his storefront.  There will be festivities in the evening and, for those who hang in there over the night, breakfast with Bob and Corey in the morning.

This sleeping in cars stuff sounded like a novel approach to the Duchess, until she came across an article (in a recent AARP Bulletin – y’know those things they start sending you when you’re in your twenties – I guess they’re afraid they’re going to miss you when you get into your fifties and sixties, so they start early!) entitled, ‘No Place to call Home.’  This article begins with the story of a 55-year-old California woman who holds two jobs, but has lost the properties she once owned and is now sleeping in her car – unbeknownst to even her co-workers.  The piece goes on to tell of 1.6 million other Americans in the same boat – er, automobile – in the past twelve months. 

So the sleeping-in-the-car approach really is the real deal.  People really do this – especially those that have recently wound up in foreclosure.  Now that she gets to thinking more about it, the Duchess recalls reading about school children whose families live in cars after being forced from their rented homes without notice when the landlord lost the property to foreclosure.

So -back to Bob and the sleep-out in the cars under the stars.  The goal for that evening of November 22nd is to raise $56,000.  If you’re in the Twin Cities area and wish to help raise the funds, c’mon down and tell Bob the Duchess of Earle invited you.  Get some sponsors, so you can help put a dent in that $56,ooo they’re raising.  Then bring your food for the tailgating, wear your earmuffs and long handles for the chilly evening, toss your sleeping bag and pillow into the back seat – and oh! – bring your sweetie for moral support and a little extra warmth!