Lori Truex was standing on the corner of Capital Avenue SW and West Columbia Avenue at sunrise holding a sign on a piece of black poster board.
It said "Help send a 4.0 kid to college."
Wednesday was the Battle Creek mom's first day of asking strangers for donations to help pay for her youngest daughter's first year at Michigan State University.
Truex plans to stand on a city corner at least eight hours a day for the next 79 days to raise the $24,152 her youngest daughter, Kendall Truex, needs to cover the costs of a year at MSU. She's calculated that she'll need $305.72 a day.
"It's out of my comfort zone, but I think this is a situation that more people are in, not just us," Truex said. "You do what have to do for your kids. Education is very important to us, and it's worth every penny."
She had paperwork on hand to prove she wasn't 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 financial aid letter.
She even tucked her employer identification card in a pocket in case anyone asked for ID.
She had another sign that read, "Can you help? Tuition is $24,152."
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All of the money she collects will be deposited into a savings account she's set up for her daughter's education at Omni Community Credit Union.
Truex calls her uncommon approach to raising money, "One Mom, One Year." She's also set up a "OneMomOneYear" GoFundMe account to raise money online. Anyone else willing to chip in a dollar or more also may contact her on Twitter at @1Mom1Year.
Kendall Truex graduated from Lakeview High School in 2015 with a 4.015 grade point average and received an Academic Excellence Award.
Michigan State 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's now ready to move on to a four-year college. She wants to major in food science.
MSU accepted her again this year, but she'll need $29,522 for tuition, room and board, books and other costs. A $1,770 Pell Grant helped, so did a $3,600 MSU student aid grant, but that still leaves the $24,152.
"I'm just really impressed with my mom," Kendall Truex said. "She's not really ever been the type to put herself out there like this. She is just such an inspiration to me always. I love my mom.
"I'm super supportive," she added. "If this works, I'll really appreciate the help."
Lori Truex has driven a school bus for 16 years. Her husband has worked in a factory for 30. Kendall Truex, works as a lifeguard.
The last time the Truexes sent a daughter to college, the venture put the family more than $60,000 in the red. Lori Truex and her husband would like to avoid a similar fate this time around.
She says she and her family live in a starter house with a mortgage, that they don't drive expensive cars or take fancy vacations.
"This is a social experiment with total transparency," Truex said.
"I want to believe that people are good inside and that the city of Battle Creek believes in its children and their dreams and will support them in their educational goals."
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