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February 11th, 1890 was the officially beginning to the Women’s Benevolent Association of Sioux Falls. A group of local ladies, including Hattie Phillips and Dora J. Pettigrew (pictured here) were among the charter members!
The pioneer life on the prairie was sometimes a brutal existence, seeing even the most well to do citizen falling to the depths of poverty from one season to the next. The mission of the association was to support citizens of Sioux Falls, providing meals, clothes, and even shelter in the midst of the individuals darkest hour.
The women would band together to raise money, prepare feasts, host community events, and even lease property to help out the community.
In his early history of Minnehaha County – Lawyer and Biographer – Dana Bailey commended the women of the association, saying they did not wait for a report of an individual or family in need. They were diligent in seeking out those in need and thrusting it upon them, without the need to request it!