What St. Francis ‘Walk A Mile in My Shoes’ Event Is All About
Imagine, it's a bitterly cold day, you've been walking around for hours with all your earthly possessions stuffed into a backpack, which seems to get heavier with every step. Steps which are increasingly difficult because your shoes are so worn out and ill-fitting.
Your simple wish is somewhere warm to stop for a while, something warm to drink, and perhaps, a safe place to lay your head.
For many people, this isn't something they need to imagine, this is their reality, here in Sioux Falls, right now. St. Francis House, an ecumenical ministry-based homeless shelter in Sioux Falls, is well aware of this and year-round, actively seeks to raise awareness of, and address the problem.
National Hunger and Homelessness Week is November 12 through 20, this year, and the St. Francis House invites people to "walk the walk", by participating in their "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" event on Saturday, November 19.
Registration is from 10:30 to 11 AM. There will then be a short program, after which, the walk to the St. Francis House will begin at the memorial for the homeless, located at 6th Street and the Big Sioux River (behind the Lutheran Social Services building).
Participants are asked to bring a new or gently-used backpack filled with 15 pounds of canned foods, socks, thermals, gloves, knit hats, etc., to donate to St. Francis House residents at the end of the walk. This symbolizes the many guests who have arrived there with nothing more than a backpack and badly worn-out shoes.
I quite often ponder the difference between someone who is homeless and the rest of us. For me, the answer is usually one paycheck. As a person who still lives paycheck-to-paycheck, that is all it would take to change me from an individual with a cozy little rental home into someone without one.
Homeless numbers in South Dakota as of January 2022 were just north of 1,000 people. In Sioux Falls, right around 400 people are currently without a permanent residence.