One Step Further: Tent City Adds Walk Event

Toledo Local Features  |  10/27/2010 7:00 am

We've seen time and time again the wonderful compassion and caring Toledoans show for one another, and it never ceases to amaze. Another such display of the region's true colors comes each year at 1Matters' Tent City, which provides services like medical care, clothing, and food to those who've found themselves otherwise unable. 1Matters maintains that poverty isn't about statistics; it's about each individual.

The event might have remained a small token of midwestern hospitality had it not been for a visit from legendary rocker John Mellencamp, who upon seeing the community's unity and willingness to help those unable to help themselves, threw his support behind the organization.

"He was impressed at how our entire community came together at Tent City to give compassion to those who needed some compassion. That and the people he met moved him greatly," said 1Matters Founder Ken Leslie. "Let's face it. Few people realize and appreciate about how cool our community really is until someone from outside of Toledo says, 'You guys don't realize how cool your community really is.'"

1Matters decided to take Tent City a step further this year by launching the 1Mile Matters walk this Saturday, October 30, 2010. The goal is to get even more people involved in the organization and be an even stronger symbol of solidarity.

"It was just serendipity," said Ken. "We had been filling all the volunteer spots at Tent City the past two years and wanted to create opportunities for more of the community to have a chance to be 1 who matters to those who matter at Tent City... When Mr. Mellencamp got fully engaged in building 1Matters into a national organization, the walk became something that, if successful, potentially could be replicated in 6 cities next year."

1Mile begins at Promenade Park and continues to Tent City on the city's Civic Mall. Registration begins at 10 a.m., the walk steps off at 10:30 a.m., and the awards ceremony and lunch being at noon. Not forgetting John Mellencamp's support for the event, he pledged four tickets to the top fundraiser to attend his November 19th show at Detroit's Fox Theater and backstage passes to meet him. Runner-up wins a Fischer Price Ford F150 child's ride on pickup truck. Walkers and teams can pledge money or have other people sponsor them, and with the walk's goal of $10,000 already being surpassed, the competition continues to increase. Every dollar counts towards 1Matter's goal of making life a little brighter for those most of society has forgotten.

"The most positive thing, and the reason we exist is so every 1 knows they matter to someone. Whether you are unhoused on the streets, a volunteer, a donor, or a walker, this weekend you will matter to some 1."

Tent City runs from Friday, October 29 to Sunday, October 31, 2010 on Toledo's Civic Mall, located between the Safety Building and Jail on Jefferson Ave. The 1Mile Matters walk begins at 10:30 a.m. in Promenade Park. You can register on 1Matters' website or the day of the walk. For more information about Tent City, 1Matters and the 1Mile Matters walk, visit