Little sleep for sleep-out volunteer

Making a Difference
2010-10-10T22:15:00Z 2010-10-10T22:20:44Z Little sleep for sleep-out volunteer

By Joanne Fox

jfox@siouxcityjournal.com

Sioux City Journal
October 10, 2010 10:15 pm  • 

SIOUX CITY – Willie Delfs has never gotten a lot of sleep at the annual Siouxland Sleep-Out.

“Things calm down by 4 in the morning,” he said. “That’s when I catch a few winks, before I’m up to help with morning coffee at 7 a.m.”

Since the first event in 2005, Delfs has been chairman of Siouxland Sleep-Out, which encourages individuals and groups to sleep outside as homeless people often must, to build awareness of the causes of homelessness and to raise money to help the homeless.

Delfs, the owner of Able Homebuilders, explained his relationship with the sleep-out came from sitting on the board of the Mental Health Association of Siouxland.

“Because of my business, I was asked to be a member of the board to help identify transitional housing for men,” he said.

Michael G. “Mike” Wood, who helped form the mental health association into a nonprofit Iowa corporation, proposed the sleep-out idea.

“Mike talked to us about how sleep-outs have been going on for years in other communities,” Delfs recalled. “He said a sleep-out in Wayzata, Minn., had been going on years and raised about $2 million.”

Wood pitched to the group how that approach could be handled in Siouxland, and Delfs was on board.

“I’m from a community that’s big about giving back,” said Delfs, a Sioux City native. “I so believed in it that I volunteered to be the event coordinator.”

“Willie is multitalented and one of the very few people who could organize all the logistics of an overnight involving 300 participants,” Wood pointed out.

“Event coordinator” doesn’t quite describe all of Delfs’ responsibilities, said Meg Armstrong, executive director of Shesler Hall, a haven for women with special needs.

“Willie works with city officials, gathers pledges, solicits corporate sponsors, chops wood for the firepits, makes his so-delicious potato soup, then dismantles the tents and cardboard boxes,” she said. “Always, always with a smile on his face.”

“The sleep-out would not come together without the help of many people,” Delfs said. “It’s a great team effort.”

Siouxland Sleep-Out participants collect pledges from friends, family members and co-workers that benefit Shesler Hall; Henry Muller Hall, transitional housing for men with mental illness; and Community Support Services, which provides help finding suitable housing and other services to the homeless. The past five events have raised more than $200,000 altogether.

Delfs was honored recently with the Governor’s Volunteer Award for his work on the Siouxland Sleep-Out and for his commitment to help the homeless in Siouxland.

“The best part of our event is that it has spurred at least seven or eight other Iowa towns to have sleep-outs to draw attention to the challenges of homelessness,” he said.

The year’s Siouxland Sleep-Out is set for Nov. 5 at Lewis and Clark Park in Sioux City. It will be co-sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Siouxland and the Siouxland Coalition to End Homelessness. More information is available at siouxlandsleepout.com.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Business Search

Latest Offers

View More

Featured Businesses

View More

Latest Associated Press Videos

Community Calendar

Calendar Sponsor

Top Jobs

Local Drivers & O/O

PT Dental Assistant

Nursing Assistant

Inside Sales Representative

Now Hiring

General Production

maintenance mechanic

Now Hiring

multiple openings

Openings for 2015-2016 school year

Farm Commodities Specialist

Class A Drivers

Director, Educational Services

PT CNA

Program Coordinator

Seasonal Driver

Clinical Director

CDL

Office Position

Cooks, Servers

Sign Installer

Sales Clerk

Electrical Apprenticeship

Van Drivers Wanted NOW!

Direct Support Staff

Now Hiring

Security Guard

HELP WANTED

Now Hiring

Field Worker

Tow Truck Driver

Meditech Pharmacy Support Analyst

Openings

Director of Animal Health

FT Motor Coach Operator

Full-Time General Production

PT Apartment Maintenance Tech

Packers

PT RN, PT Dietary Aide

Chair Rental Available

Truck Driver

9 Month Faculty Instructor

Warehouse

IT Technology Specialist

Poll

Loading…

Poll: How many girls state basketball titles will Siouxland teams bring home?

View Results