What the St. Francis House ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’ Event is All About?
The St. Francis House has only ever had one mission, "Moving people from homelessness to hope." However, within that statement of purpose is a long list of elements that must come together in order to reach that goal.
First of all, a safe, warm, place to stay. Whether it is a family or individual, a comfortable place to rest, maybe for the first time in weeks, or months, is of the utmost importance. Guests must commit to sobriety, find full-time employment, and deposit any income they receive into a savings account.
They must also pay outstanding debts, whether that might be child support, past-due utilities, rent, fines, or restitution. St. Francis House residents receive assistance finding and keeping work with benefits, reliable transportation, getting their children enrolled in school or child care, managing their money, and other life and health skills.
Deep convictions in the St. Francis House philosophy include:
- Everyone deserves another chance
- Give people a hand up, not a handout
- No one should go hungry
To that end, every year for the last 3 years they have presented the "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" event during National Hunger and Homelessness Week (this year November 15-22). The 4th annual walk is coming up on Saturday, November 21.
Registration and check-in begin at 10:30, at 11 AM there will be a short program at the Homeless Memorial at 6th Street and the Big Sioux River, then the 1-mile walk begins.
Many guests arrive at St. Francis House carrying only a backpack with everything they own in it and wearing old, worn-out shoes. Participants are asked to provide a new or gently used backpack filled with 15 pounds of these essential items:
- Body wash
- Toilet paper
- Cleaning supplies
- Thermal underwear
- Bar soap container
- Toothbrush covers
- Flip flops
- Canned food
If you can't participate in the walk but would like to donate a filled backpack, make a monetary donation, or simply need more information, see St. Francis House online, on Facebook, or call 605-334-3879.