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 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 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 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 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!
Today’s Front Line Hero is Samaritas, and the staff at their affiliate, Adrian Affordable Living. Due to the need to social distance during COVID-19, Adrian Affordable Living was forced to cancel their annual Easter party. Each year, Adrian Affordable Living hosts an Easter party on the property for the community, including an Easter egg hunt for the children. They saved money by cancelling the Easter party, and decided to use that funding to provide a necessity for their residents instead: toilet paper.
In the spirit of giving, staff at Adrian Affordable Living provided toilet paper to every household, which was greatly appreciated since toilet paper has been in short supply and many families have had trouble finding the needed product. One of their residents called the office to thank them for the gift, saying she had “prayed to the toilet paper gods just that morning,” since her family had run out and did not know how they would find more toilet paper.
Hats off to Samaritas and Adrian Affordable Living for using their resources to help their community! Though Easter parties had to be cancelled this year, we appreciate that you are looking to build community in other ways.
Today’s Front Line Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, and the Project IMPACT staff. Project IMPACT is a behavioral health crisis program, operating in five hospital emergency rooms in Chicago. The crisis mental health counselors and social workers of Project IMPACT provide psychiatric evaluations, and place patients needing psychiatric care in behavioral health facilities, ensuring that ER beds are available for those who need testing and acute medical care. Those ER beds are especially critical now, during the COVID-19 crisis.
Project IMPACT staff cannot work from home, and have courageously answered the call to serve their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Counselors and social workers are taking on extra shifts to cover for their colleagues who are worried about exposure, unable to work due to illness, or staying home with children. Some staff who are temporarily unable to work are spending their time sewing masks to keep their colleagues safe.
Thank you to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and the Project IMPACT staff! We recognize that you are working in increasingly challenging conditions, and we appreciate your dedication to bringing healing and wholeness to your communities.
Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (LSSN), for expanding their digital food pantry services during the COVID-19 pandemic. LSSN has operated a food pantry for more than ten years, serving members of their community who are food insecure. The food pantry offers fresh produce, meats, dairy, bread, and an array of non-perishable food items, and provides low-income shoppers with the dignity of choosing the foods they wish to eat.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity in vulnerable communities, and LSSN is rising to the challenge of meeting that need. LSSN launched the country’s first digital food pantry, DigiMart, in 2016, allowing clients to select their food items from any electronic device connected to the internet, including desktop kiosks at LSSN.
DigiMart has become a necessity in the era of social distancing, allowing low-income families and homeless populations to select groceries online. LSSN is expanding the size of the DigiMart food pantry from 750 square feet to 3,058 square feet, and suspending registration requirements so they can serve more people who are facing food insecurity.
Thank you to Lutheran Social Services of Nevada for working hard to promote food security in Southern Nevada during the COVID-19 pandemic!
Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (LSS SD) for their creative solution to supply their community with much needed protective equipment.
LSS SD hosts a learning center for children, and they are providing childcare services during the COVID-19 crisis. When the children saw one of the learning center staff, Sarah Anderson, sewing masks, they were eager to help. Sarah taught the children how to sew using a sewing machine, and they were enthusiastic to use this new skill to help keep the staff safe at LSS SD.
The children at the learning center at LSS SD have spent the past few weeks sewing good quality, three layer masks for the staff, their family and friends, and their teachers. LSS SD is now asking parents if they know of anyone in need of masks, and expanding their reach into the community. The children are suggesting they make masks to send to retirement homes, since they know the elderly population is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. LSS SD is seeking donations to help cover the cost of supplies as the children continue using their new-found skills to provide much needed protective gear.
Kelo Land, LSS SD’s local news station covered this uplifting story: https://www.keloland.com/video/lutheran-social-services-daycare-kids-mak…
Thank you to LSS SD for your dedication to serving and protecting your community, and for instilling community service in the next generation!
Today’s Front Line Hero is Luther Home of Mercy in Williston, OH, which is working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those they serve. Luther Home of Mercy serves adults with developmental disabilities through a variety of ministries, including residential options, supported living, and day programs.
Typically, residents at Luther Home of Mercy are able to gather for weekly Bible studies and chapel services, but the need to social distance due to COVID-19 has put those weekly in-person gatherings on hold. Expressions of faith remain important to many residents at Luther Home of Mercy, and staff wanted to provide them with ways to worship safely. Throughout Holy Week, Luther Home of Mercy streamed religious services so residents could participate, and a local church even donated palms for Palm Sunday! Residents could also see the Easter bunny on Easter Sunday morning, who kept a safe distance outside their windows.
Thank you, Luther Home of Mercy, for meeting the holistic needs of those you serve during the COVID-19 pandemic, and finding creative ways to celebrate Easter, and all of Holy Week.