Kenosha is the fourth largest city in Wisconsin. Regrettably, the human service needs outweigh the available services provided, particularly in the areas of housing and mental health. Kenosha is blessed with several service providers – but even so, many people who need help are placed on waiting lists.

When a long-time community organization called First Step was unable to renew its license, with no help from an unyielding City Council, a number of individuals were left without shelter. Many were forced to sleep outside doorways, or whatever cold unfriendly places they could find. Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha was privileged to open its doors when this need of our homeless friends surfaced.

Grace’s new Welcome Center has been a small, yet significant, answer to a portion of their needs.  The Grace Welcome Center is currently open on Fridays, when they serve a hearty breakfast and lunch. Our homeless friends have a place, for five or six hours, where they can enjoy social activities or simply rest their head on a table. Grace recently added access to showers and personal totes for housing belongings which no longer need to be carried around all week.

Members of Grace Lutheran, who agreed by an overwhelming vote to host the Welcome Center, also enjoyed and embraced some thankful homeless friends from the Center who began attending morning worship. Recently other local Lutheran churches have come on board to assist and donate prepared meals.

Jesus teaches us if we don’t seek out and help the least of these, we have done the same to him.

These my brethren… are THE LEAST OF THESE!!

Donations to Outreach for Hope help make our Welcome Center possible and we thank you!

(This article was first delivered as a speech by Hattie Paramore, a member of Grace, at Outreach for Hope’s presentation to the Greater Milwaukee Synod Assembly on June 2, 2017.)