Catholic Women's League donates time and money
By Kenny Keane, Globe staff reporter
Posted November 14, 2002
Bishop P.J. Garrigan helped form the Catholic Women's League, Inc. (CWL) back
in November of 1911 for the purpose of giving help to the needy of Sioux City.
He must be smiling down from heaven knowing the league is still around nearly a
century later fulfilling that same purpose.
One way the CWL helps to meet the needs of those in Sioux City is by
providing tuition assistance to the Catholic Schools of Sioux City (CSSC). On
Nov. 8, during a check presentation ceremony held in front of St. Joseph Church
in Sioux City, the CSSC received a donation in the amount of $108,900 from the
"They've been doing it for the Catholic Schools of Sioux City since our
inception in 1997," said Josh Faber, director of marketing and public
relations for the CSSC. "Ever since that time, we have received an annual
donation from them, and for the last five years, that has been in excess of
The money is raised through the proceeds from a resale shop called the
Bargain Center, located at 1001 W. 7th St. in Sioux City. The Bargain Center has
been in existence since 1952 in different locations until settling into its
current location in 1960. The store was later reconstructed from an old service
station into its present form.
Although the looks and locations of the store have changed, the function of
the store has remained the same. People donate items such as beds,
refrigerators, washers, sheets, curtains and many household items. However,
according to Barbara Kindig, a member of the CWL, the majority of the store's
inventory consists of clothing.
"We receive lots of clothing - shoes, coats and all types of clothing
including children's, ladies' and men's," she said. "Then we in turn
sell them to very wonderful people. We really get to know the people who come in
"We treat everyone with dignity. We laugh and cry along with them as the
occasion calls for because some come in just to say hi. Some will come in
The daily hours for the store are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday,
and those who work at the store do so on a volunteer basis.
"There's absolutely no paid help at all - just strictly volunteer,"
Kindig said. "We pay our expenses like our light bill, heat, repair on the
furnace and various things like that."
Aside from those expenses, Kindig said all of the money generated from the
store is given away every year. She said the vast majority of it goes to the
Catholic schools to help with tuition, but she added that they probably give
between $30,000-$35,000 to organizations such as the Red Cross, the Indian
School, the Salvation Army or Queen of Peace, Inc., among others.
"Many times during the year, we will help someone out who has a need
such as paying rent or to help someone who has to move," she said. "We
might help someone pay a light bill occasionally. So it isn't just to the
Catholic schools, but that's our main purpose. That's where the huge amount
The generous amount allocated towards tuition assistance allows the CSSC to
operate, according to Faber.
"Quite honestly, it means that tuition can be made more affordable not
only for the almost 300 students who receive financial aid from the Catholic
Schools of Sioux City from donations like this, but it also means that tuition
for the other families is lower because we don't have to find a way to provide
for them," he said. "It helps keep tuition affordable. This helps more
students have the access that they need to Catholic education, which is so
important to not only the Catholic Women's League but also all Catholics in
Kindig said there are 675 members who support and belong to the CWL, and she
said they are totally committed to the ideal of allowing children the
opportunity to attend Catholic schools.
"In this day and age, this is so important. We are helping in a small
way to give these children a Catholic, religious education," she said.
"They can say 'God,' and it's okay. This is what makes these schools so
valuable because you are allowed to say 'God' and 'Jesus,' and you are allowed
The members of the CWL, who pay a $3 fee to join the league, represent every
parish in Sioux City. Kindig, who is a member of Blessed Sacrament Church, said
that's an important thing, but she also added that volunteers who work at the
store do not have to be Catholic.
She said they are always looking for more volunteers, but just the fact that
90 to 100 women already volunteer 10, 15 or 20 hours a week of their time sends
a strong message, according to Faber.
"They treat it like a job, and it's professional to them," he said.
"Their efforts mean that 300 kids get to go to school. So we're
exceptionally grateful for all their service and the example that they set for
our students not only in their service but in giving back to their community in
a lot of different ways."
One way in particular that working at the store and fulfilling the purpose of
the CWL has affected the lives of its members, according to Kindig, is coming
into contact with a wide variety of people.
"Golly, they are wonderful people," she said. "I have a lady
who comes in there every single day and buys for other people, and she just
gives to the homeless. She doesn't have anything.
"To see the outpouring of care and concern that comes in there, it is
wonderful. We don't get paid any money, but boy do we ever get paid knowing that
we are helping somebody. We get so much more out of it probably than the people
do. They don't realize how they touch our lives."