Sylvia Wensing, a 15-year Pastoral Associate at Parish of St. Michael loves the idea of an ecumenical effort to serve those in need and quickly came to appreciate having somewhere to go for help when people in need came knocking at the church door. “When people we don’t know come and ask us for help, it’s so reassuring to have a central location for referral,” she said. “We are able to do something positive to help those in need, and at the
same time, we are able to be good stewards of the funds donated by our parishioners.”
“It just makes good sense to financially support The Community Outreach,” she added.
“They have the resources to understand the needs of those we refer there and their employees are knowledgeable about help that’s available in the community. The funds we contribute to them are used only as a last resort, so our donations stretch further and help more who really need it.” She added, “Also, it’s much more likely that help will be distributed fairly if everyone is sent to the same place. Requests for aid are more frequent,
and many times, more dire. We have not changed how we handle it. We refer to The Community Outreach.”
Before working for St. Michael’s, Sylvia was frightened by people who she saw as different
from her. Her work has shown her that people are more alike than different and some stories she’s heard from individuals in need have shamed her. “It’s hard to believe that
this level of poverty exists in our society and right here in Sioux Falls,” she commented.
“This is where my family and I live, work, play and worship in middle class comfort.”
Sylvia and the Social Ministries Committee at St. Michael are mentoring their second Genesis family, a family at risk of homelessness. “Each time it’s been an eye and heart-opening experience,” she shared. “Moving beyond emergency aid, The Community
Outreach has made a commitment to helping people at risk of being homeless develop
skills needed to have and keep a home. This so impresses me. When I retire, God willing,
I hope to do more volunteering, having seen what I’ve seen, how can I not?”
The Community Outreach would like to thank Sylvia and St. Michael’s for their faith and trust in our ability to serve those in need and express our appreciation to her and her mentor team for their commitment to ending homelessness by volunteering as mentors for the Genesis program.Print This Email This