Don't get Rachel Mithelman, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church, started talking about welfare reform in the state that pioneered the concept.
"It's done such damage in Wisconsin," she says. "It just pushed people into jobs that can't really in the end help them or their families." Even those with a steady 40 hours a week have trouble.
"What we see are families who just run out of checks before they run out of month," Mithelman says. "That's the life of the working poor."
To support women in the workplace, Our Savior houses and supports the Women's Clothes Closet, run by a La Crosse women's shelter. It's a thrift-store specializing in work-appropriate clothes for women entering employment.
"They're not the kind of women who have a closet full of interview clothes," Mithelman says. The store offers clothes for a range of occupations, from store clerk to medical aide to secretary.
The store, which occupies three rooms at Our Savior, is open Tuesdays — conveniently after the church's weekly "Come for Supper" community meal.
"It has served thousands of women," Mithelman says.
© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers