A Battle Creek mother who hit the streets for most of the summer to raise money for her daughter's college education is ending her unorthodox campaign this week with more than $10,000 collected for tuition and board.
Lori Truex, a school bus driver for Lakeview schools, will end her "One Mom, One Year" fundraising campaign on Thursday, the last day of her 79-day fundraising effort to return to work.
She began standing with a sign on corners around the city on June 14 and will stand Thursday on a spot near the Wal-Mart on B Drive North to thank everyone for their donations.
"This has been a summer I will never forget, and how truly blessed we feel by all your support," she said Monday. "I feel very blessed. We are very, very grateful."
Sympathetic passers-by, online readers and others who heard about her story through news reports, Facebook and Twitter donated a total of $10,272.30 for the cause.
Truex said $5,400 of the total came from an online GoFundMe account. The rest, $4,872.30, came from her panhandling efforts or checks deposited by donors into a credit union account she opened for the drive.
Her daughter, Kendall Truex, moved into her Michigan State University dormitory on Thursday. Classes start Wednesday.
More than half of the $10,272.30 paid for Kendall's first semester. Truex said she'll use the rest to help pay her family's share of second-semester costs at MSU. Kendall will pay the rest with grants, scholarships and loans.
"I'm just so grateful for everyone's help 'cause, even though classes haven't even started, I'm already having the best time up here," Kendall said Monday.
Kendall graduated from Lakeview High School in 2015 with a 4.015 grade point average.
MSU accepted her in 2015, but she couldn't afford to go. So she took advantage of a Legacy Scholars scholarship and enrolled at Kellogg Community College.
She has received a $1,000 Santo and Maria Zanetti Scholarship from the Battle Creek Community Foundation.
Lori Truex carried signs and laminated paperwork in a folder to prove she was not trying to pull a fast one on anybody: her daughter's graduation photo, high school transcripts, Kellogg Community College transcripts, acceptance letter from MSU and a financial aid letter. She also had her employer identification card on hand in case anyone asked for ID.
She even reached out to the Ellen DeGeneres Show for a chance to win a $60,000 prize for parents struggling to meet their children's college tuition expenses, but did not hear back from show producers.
Truex said she also promised her family not to raise funds again in such an unusual way.
"I promised nothing more crazy, ever again," she said.
© Battle Creek Enquirer