Today’s Front Line Hero: Graceworks Lutheran Services

March 27, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Graceworks Lutheran Services, (with 63 locations in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky), who is going above and beyond to meet the holistic needs of residents and employees.

Graceworks is focused not only on keeping residents and employees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but on making sure residents don’t feel isolated during this time. For example, staff at Bethany Village (Centerville, Ohio) are creating original programming on the senior living community’s internal television station for residents in independent and assisted living settings as well as long-term care, including exercise classes, mini concerts by talented staff, and frequent spiritual segments. Resident council meetings and regular updates also are being broadcast, all helping to lift the spirits of residents and keep them engaged, helping earn Bethany Village recognition from local media for their efforts to connect residents and family members during times when visitors aren’t allowed in licensed areas. Staff help residents utilize iPads and smartphones to connect with their loved ones, as well.

Staff at Graceworks Housing Services, providing affordable housing for income-qualified seniors or those with disabilities, is connecting residents with donors from the community who want to help in this time of need. At Messiah Community in Urbana, Ohio, a local restaurant owner delivered a shopping cart full of items to a resident who had no means of shopping for herself. The owner indicated he would be back as needed to make sure she has supplies so she can stay home during the pandemic.

And at Graceworks Enhanced Living, which provides homes for persons living with intellectual disabilities, staff is supporting one another by displaying ways to practice safe hygiene during the crisis. They also are encouraging residents to practice social distancing while still enjoying the warming weather.

The organization’s Human Resources staff are focused on making sure employees practice self-care as well. Graceworks has adopted a motto of SHINE, for Supporting the Holistic and Individual Needs of Employees. Regular messages are being sent to employees thanking them for their valuable and selfless service, for doing the right things to keep everyone safe, and providing information on ways to focus on all areas of holistic health.

Lutheran Services in America is proud of the holistic care our member organizations like Graceworks are providing. We’re glad to recognize them for their valuable efforts today!

Today’s Front Line Hero: Mount Olivet Rolling Acres

March 30, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Tracy Murphy, President of Mount Olivet Rolling Acres in Minnesota. Tracy recognizes the funding challenges non-profits are facing as they aim to continue their important services amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. She called on her network to contribute to their favorite non-profits NOW, and ensure their gifts are unrestricted so they can be used where they are needed most. Tracy practices what she preaches and generously doubled her yearly donor advised fund allocation.

Mount Olivet Rolling Acres continues to care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities during the pandemic. The staff are pitching in however they can, with the executive team delivering craft supplies and making face masks, and doctors helping disinfect the work space. Great work Tracy, and all the staff at Mount Olivet Rolling Acres for your generosity, flexibility with job descriptions, and recognition that we are all in this together.

Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska

March 31, 2020

Today’s Frontline Hero is Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, which is going the extra mile to communicate effectively with their community during the coronavirus pandemic. LFS of Nebraska created an 800 phone number for their clients and those seeking telehealth mental health services during this challenging time They increased telehealth therapy capacity by more than a hundredfold in less than 24 hours to ensure everyone could continue their therapy, and to manage additional mental health needs as community anxiety over the pandemic grows.

As part of the organization’s efforts to promote expanded telehealth services, LFS of Nebraska sent 7,000 letters to clients in language used in the home. The Global Language Solutions team assembled interpreters who went to work translating LFS of Nebraska’s communications, along with CDC-issued materials and information on how to stay safe during the pandemic. They also published videos in 14 languages on their YouTube channel to disseminate information about the coronavirus to typically marginalized communities. Some of the languages include Somali, Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, Kurdish, Spanish, Burmese, Nepali, and more. Notably, the Ohio Department of Health discovered these helpful videos and is using them for their own community outreach efforts.

LFS of Nebraska also is developing virtual town hall information sessions in a variety of languages, launching a podcast, and will soon release a short video series to help people stay informed and stay connected.

Thank you, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, for your unflagging commitment to serving your community, and for making the extra effort to communicate this crucial health information to so many people!

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services Works to End the Cycle of Abuse for Generations of Missourians

April 1, 2020

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and an opportunity to focus on our collective responsibility to end child abuse and neglect. Across the Unites States, there are approximately 674,000 substanitated cases of maltreatment every year – a number that has been slowly climbing over the last decade. To mitigate continued risk, prevention and intervention are essential.

“We have an obligation to the children and families in Missouri to reduce the rates if abuse and neglect in order to build better tomorrows for everyone in Missouri,” said Mike Duggar, President and CEO of Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS). “Through our foster programs, LFCS helps children in unsafe situations find safe, and loving environments. We are also focused on abuse prevention programs. From pregnancy counseling to parenting education, we proactively equip participants with the skills and coping mechanisms needed to prevent the likelihood of child maltreatment.”

LFCS works to end the cycle of abuse across the state of Missouri through innovative and comprehensive programs, making generations of children and families safer and stronger together. Specialized prevention programs for at-risk expectant and young parents facilitate the pursuit of stable living conditions, higher education, and employment, as well as providing counseling and education to manage life stressors. LFCS intervention services include foster care case management, foster parent recruitment and training, and behavioral health. Collectively, these programs improve the well-being of over 38,000 Missourians each year.

Great strides are being made to end the cycle of abuse, but the work is far from over. According to the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division 2019 Annual Report regarding child abuse and neglect, approximately 65,000 cases of abuse and neglect are reported each year across the state, involving approximately 90,000 children. LFCS believes it is everyone’s responsibility to promote safety, stability, and well-being for all children.

To create awareness, LFCS staff will recognize Go Blue Day on April 3 by wearing blue, the official color of child abuse prevention. Additionally, on April 8, the organization will participate in Missouri Child Advocacy Day by meeting with state representatives and legislators to enact positive change.

Visit to learn more and provide support.

About Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS)

LFCS, a proud member of the United Way, is a statewide agency with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, three regional offices, and over 75 satellite service sites. The mission of LFCS is to empower children and families to overcome challenges today so they can build a better tomorrow. As a nonprofit social services organization, its vision is to make generations of children and families safer and stronger together. LFCS opens doors for people who face poverty, unexpected pregnancy, violence, unemployment, illness, homelessness, and more. To tackle these challenges, LFCS programs are delivered in two key services areas: Family Services and Behavioral Health Services. A dedicated staff delivers professionalism and personal care in equal measure to every situation and each client who visits one of the many offices in Missouri. LFCS services are open to anyone regardless of race, faith, national origin, gender, or age.  For more information, call 314-754-2785 or visit

Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Services Florida (LSF)

April 1, 2020

Today’s Frontline Hero is Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), which is finding creative solutions to serve their community remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

LSF is truly committed to serving the mental health needs of their entire community. The organization has significantly increased its telehealth capacity so people can continue accessing mental health resources, counseling, and case management from their homes – a move so crucial during this challenging time. In addition to telehealth services, Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems, is providing expert guidance in the media on managing the mounting anxiety and challenges to mental health arising in communities due to the pandemic.

LSF also is providing solutions to challenges presented by social distancing in the field of education. Educational leaders are designing remote support kits for Head Start families as they teach their children at home.

Thank you, Lutheran Services Florida, for your creative problem solving and dedication to your community’s needs in such trying times!

Today’s Front Line Hero: The Good Samaritan Society

April 2, 2020

Today’s Frontline Hero is the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health for offering generous benefits to its hardworking employees during the coronavirus pandemic. The Good Samaritan Society recently announced it will be offering a support program to its more than 50,000 employees across the nation. All full-time hourly employees will receive a bonus to cover their health insurance for the next three months, and all part-time employees will receive a similar bonus.

The Good Samaritan Society communicated that its employees and their families are of utmost importance to the organization, and they want to support employees during these uncertain times. Randy Bury, president of the Good Samaritan Society, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on everything we do. We owe a debt of gratitude to our frontline caregivers who are protecting the most vulnerable during this time of great need. Our support plan offers much-deserved assistance to our employees. Our staff’s determination to continue to provide the best care to all those we serve has never been more critical.”

Thank you to the Good Samaritan Society for your generous support of the employees who are working hard to combat coronavirus!

Today’s Front Line Hero: Immanuel Lutheran Communities

April 3, 2020

Today’s Frontline Hero is Immanuel Lutheran Communities and CEO Jason Cronk in Kalispell, MT. Immanuel Lutheran is a senior living community, and they have been working hard to keep the coronavirus away from their over 300 residents. They recognize their population is particularly susceptible to COVID-19, and the ability the virus has to spread quickly presents a real danger. Jason and his team put in place critical protocols to keep their residents safe, including restricting visitors and implementing a 14-day private observation period for new residents, or residents who are returning to the campus after an absence. The team also is practicing social distancing for all non-essential meetings and gatherings.

Alongside their protocols to keep residents safe, Immanuel Lutheran also is aiming to ensure residents feel connected despite social distancing. They are making arrangements for families to contact their loved ones regularly through social media, phone, and videoconferencing. Jason is doing a great of keeping the community updated on life at Immanuel Lutheran Communities. Check out his recent, related op-ed in The Missoulian.

Thank you to Jason Cronk and all the hard-working employees at Immanuel Lutheran Communities for your commitment to faithfully serving your community residents during COVID-19!

Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC)

April 6, 2020

Today’s Frontline Hero is Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC), which is actively responding to the needs of their community during the COVID-19 pandemic in so many ways. LSC is proactively checking in with their community members and offering to connect people with resources, such as caseworkers and spiritual leaders. Staff continue to work hard on the front lines, risking their own health by doingso. Staff and volunteers are sewing homemade masks and other protective equipment in short supply so they can remain healthy and continue to serve their clients and residents, who now are even more vulnerable. Though LSC is under financial stress due to the costs of protective equipment and needed additional staff, they remain committed to serving their community. Their recent $56,000 purchase of hand sanitizer to ensure they are operating in a clean environment is just one such example.

LSC is truly rising to the challenge of COVID-19. Though they recognize these are trying times, the LSC team is celebrating the resilience and love they see throughout their community. Family members continue to visit the gates and windows of senior living facilities to wave to their loved ones, birthday celebrations continue remotely, and generous support goes out to refugee families. Click here to view LSC’s video celebrating resilience through COVID-19.

Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM)

April 7, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM), which is faithfully serving the most vulnerable people in Northeast Ohio amid the COVID-19 challenges. Among many services, LMM provides food and shelter to hundreds of people without homes every day. The need to social distance creates major challenges for these homeless services, but LMM is rising to that challenge in continuing to serve people who are struggling while also keeping their staff safe.

LMM is providing virtual visits, where possible, and making adjustments since shelters are not set up for social distancing. Marcella Brown, Vice President of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, said they have reduced their shelter count significantly to provide more space for people sheltering. But no one is being left out in the cold; LMM is partnering with other community organizations to ensure everyone has a place to shelter, and social distancing can continue in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Thank you, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, for your dedication in serving the most vulnerable people in your community – made all the more vital in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s Front Line Hero: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

April 9, 2020

Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, which has forged a new partnership with MyPillow to meet the needs of their staff who are working on the front lines in the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many healthcare and social services providers, LSS of Minnesota experienced shortages of much-needed supplies like masks and gloves to enable them to continue to serve their community, but without risking the health of their staff and furthering the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, it could be a 2-3 week waiting period before receiving protective gear, and LSS of Minnesota did not want to reduce or stop their services while they waited for the necessary equipment.

To fill the gap in protective equipment, LSS of Minnesota partnered with local supplier MyPillow, and MyPillow generously repurposed their manufacturing resources to produce cotton masks in mass quantities. These supplies allowed LSS of Minnesota to provide their services safely. MyPillow has continued manufacturing washable masks for hospitals and other healthcare facilities during this time of need.

Thank you to MyPillow for stepping up during the COVID-19 crisis to provide much-needed resources, and thank you to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota for your ongoing service and dedication to your community, regardless of circumstance!