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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 jkohler@iocp.org 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! :)