“Our relationship with HumanKind is one we really treasure—we’ve enjoyed being able to work together to make things happen.”
Since childhood, Bonnie Toombs of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita’s Respect Life and Social Justice Office has held the belief that “You share what you have, even if you don’t have a lot, and you pay things forward.” She has put that belief into action and been directly supporting the homeless population since college, working at clothing closets and shelters and in street outreach. As well as continuing to volunteer in those capacities, a lot of Bonnie’s work nowadays centers around education and opportunities for parishioners to “put their faith into practice” around the Wichita community.
HumanKind’s relationship with The Catholic Diocese goes back decades. The late Bishop Eugene Gerber was known for his involvement with the Wichita homeless community—founding The Lord’s Diner just before his retirement in 2001. Ten years prior to that, HumanKind’s now-Emergency Winter shelter did not have a fixed venue so, much like our founders, Bishop Gerber banded together with local churches to rotate, host, and staff the shelter.
In 2012, the Catholic Diocese later helped HumanKind find and secure the Men’s Emergency Winter Shelter’s building at 841 N. Market. This move from a rotating location to a permanent address was also a symbolic one, giving clients more stability and making it easier to access services.
We are grateful for Bonnie’s and The Catholic Diocese’s continued commitment to our community. HumanKind is fortunate to have such long-standing partnerships as this that have enabled us to expand our services and bring our mission to more than 1,100 people a year in our shelters alone.