2015 Unsung Hero advocates for the poor and homeless

Many issues confronting the poor and low-income could be resolved by solving the greatest problem of all, that of hunger, a longtime advocate said shortly after being recognized for her volunteer efforts.

homeless coalition

 

Cathy Brechtelsbauer, South Dakota’s volunteer coordinator for Bread for the World, received the Unsung Hero Award from the Sioux Empire Homeless Coalition on Thursday. The annual award honors those working to combat homelessness and poverty but are not in the spotlight, said SEHC vice president Traci Jensen.

 

 

 

“Normally, they don’t get recognition,” Jensen said of the four nominees for the award. “We know how important their mission is out in the community.”

According to her nomination, which was submitted by several caseworkers with Minnehaha County Human Services, Brechtelsbauer “advocates on all levels (national, state, local) for our most vulnerable populations.” Brechtelsbauer is particularly vocal on policy issues such as health care, the minimum wage, city transit and an increase in sales tax.

“The main thing that stands out is her drive to raise Food Stamps/SNAP income guidelines and minimum wage (living wages),” the nominators said.

Also nominated for the award were Jodi Alsobrook, described in her nomination as “a gift, a blessing and a guiding light in the darkness for many of her patients”; Randi Helder, “a rare, special find in the large amount of hours that she volunteers” at Center of Hope, and Carol Yarrow, who visits Arena Motel weekly providing “everything from milk to diapers and all that is in between.”

“You are all examples to us both as winners and nominators and people we look up to,” said Melanie Bliss, coordinator of the Sioux Empire Homeless Coalition. “(You are the) people doing the direct service to the most fragile citizens in our community. There is no greater calling in the world.”

Like so many other people, Brechtelsbauer said, she wants to end world hunger.

“When you learn there are ways to do that, that’s really energizing. When you learn the world is making progress, that’s exciting,” she said.

Brechtelsbauer, a Sioux Falls native, moved back 29 years ago.

Original post: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015

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