FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Around 1,000 backpacks full of essential survival items were given to Fort Wayne's homeless population Friday in the seventh year of Backpacks of Hope.
For people like Michelle Libby, warm clothes, food, and water are life savers.
"Me and my wife have been going through a lot. You know, we're struggling. She had a stroke," she said, "I never knew what it was like until I was homeless," she added.
Shelley Septer started the project after her son died in an accidental drowning.
"We knew that he was really involved with the homeless and he would tell me about the stories," Septer said.
Over 1,000 people were at her son's funeral, and told her the difference he had made for them.
Septer said it started with 50 backpacks in the first year and grew from there.
"His legacy is living on. He felt what this world needed was a little more love and hope, and we're seeing that tonight," she said.
Matthew Malone, a current resident of the Rescue Mission, has been in and out of the shelter since 2012, after battling alcoholism.
He said Septer and the rest of the Mission have become like family, and this act of kindness is an early Christmas.
"It recognizes how many people here in Fort Wayne actually care," Matthew Malone.