Adapting one’s ministry during a pandemic is difficult. How about starting an entirely new ministry during that time? But that’s what Sister Jane Falke did, after serving from 2008 to 2020 for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.
“From 2008 to 2016, many refugees were allowed to come to the United States,” Sister Jane said. “Refugee resettlement agencies across the country were busy providing all the services needed for these people to successfully adapt to our culture. It was my pleasure to be part of that ministry.
“Starting in 2017, refugee resettlement was severely cut back. Then Covid struck and refugee resettlement came to a complete stop. As earlier arrivals aged out of the system agencies across the country shrank or closed altogether. That brought an end to my ministry.
“So, what could an 81-year-old Sister do next and stay safe at the same time?” Sister Jane asked. “It was time to change with the times, act and do something! Half a mile down the street from where I live, Catholic Charities has a thrift store. So, I went there and began the humble job of tagging and hanging clothes. I do this in a mask and socially distanced.”
This is what Sister Jane found out about joining this effort:
- “Every week we prevent tons of items from going into landfills.
- “Our stores provide a pleasant shopping experience for folks on limited budgets.
- “In a year’s time our three stores contribute about $1.8 million to Catholic Charities that can provide food, rent and utilities to needy people.
- “What we can’t sell in our store goes to other agencies to be distributed to very poor and homeless people. That is 2 or 3 tons a week.”
To see the sorts of items one can find at the TurnStyles Thrift store, visit www.catholiccharitiesks.org/turnstyles.