Friday, January 31, 2014

Higher Power

            Every month we have a pastor/reverend from a different church write us a new and inspirational prayer to offer the recipients of our food services.  We place a copy of this prayer into each of the grocery bags we hand out. We feel that most who come to us are having a pretty rough time and could use some comforting words to help them through...every little bit helps.

           Here is February's....

God of many names, Spirit of Life who sustains us,
Help me to find warmth when the cold is especially bitter,
Grant me peace when my inner turmoil is churning,
Guide me to hope when despair seems close at hand.
May I receive your grace as in turn I pass it on to others.
May I be made ever more whole.  Amen.

Rev. Michelle Collins
First Unitarian Church of Wilmington              [2/14]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Passing The Torch To Chuck Landry

Chuck Landry
St. Stephen's Pantry Coordinator
Or we might say, "A torch has been lit, and his name is Chuck Landry!"  As the staff at LCS start to make plans on the eventual move of our office from Rodney Street to Baynard Blvd, we realized that the St. Stephen's pantry will need a special helper to ensure that things run smoothly while me make this transition.
Proposed vision of new building for LCS.

Chuck Landry a relative new comer to St. Stephen's found himself drawn to our pantry and our mission. Pretty soon we found ourselves drawn to him as well, and before long, we had ourselves a team leader ready for action.

I asked Chuck to tell us a little bit about himself...

"My wife Carol and I have lived in the Wilmington area for twenty-three years.  For most of those years we attended Grace Lutheran Church in Drexel Hill where Carol grew up, but as the congregation changed we decided to look for a faith home nearer to where we live.  The people of St. Stephen's were warm and welcoming, and made us feel at home right away.  Then I learned about the food pantry and its mission to serve those in need, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that mission.  
Not only has the work been as rewarding as I had hoped, but the volunteers in the pantry have been a delight to work with.  Many wonderful people have helped make the pantry a vital resource in our community, and with the help and support of all our volunteers I hope to continue that tradition."

We are most grateful for Chuck stepping up to the plate and becoming part of the LCS family and taking on such a big role so graciously.

Chuck & Cher meet to talk
about St. Stephen's

With that said, there are changes taking place now, and more to come as we make plans for our future move into the new office building.

 - First change is, NO change: St. Stephen's pantry is NOT closing or moving! I think we have that question asked to us every week. We have more than one stationary pantry; Hope Lutheran, Zion Lutheran and St. Stephen's all host stationary pantries for us. LCS moving it's offices has no impact on St. Stephen's and the pantry located within. We still need all of our wonderful volunteers at St. Stephen's to continue running it and serve our community just like always.

- Real change, and these changes apply to St. Stephen's Pantry ONLY.
Over the past several months Chuck has been meeting with staff to learn all of the in's and out's of the pantries operations.

- The first real big change is that everyone who works at St. Stephen's pantry who needs to be put on the schedule or needs their schedule changed will need to contact Chuck. His number is available in the pantry or you can get it by calling our main office number (302) 654-8886 and dial x107 or email me at

- If you need to call out sick, please call Chuck. Even if you find your own replacement like you may have done so in the past, call and let him know.

- In the event of inclement weather, either Chuck or Cher Frampton will call to inform whoever is on the schedule the morning of our closing. If you are not contacted in a timely manner, please call our main office number and listen to the message on the phone. We never advise our volunteers to venture out into any weather they feel unsafe, so no matter if we are opened or closed, please make decisions that are best for you and your safety.

Chuck Landry and Cher Frampton at your service.
Schedules will be posted in the pantry on the bulletin board, please look them over to ensure you are on for the month, and that it is correct in dates and in number of hours. We are expecting a few hiccups as we switch over systems. If you have questions, concerns or see something that just is not working, please bring it to our attention. We cannot fix it if we do not know it is broken. Our goal is to make things easier, not harder, so your input has always been valuable.

Thank you for all of your patience while we make this transition, and most important, for all that you do!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

News You Can Use

For Your Church Newsletter - Prepared by Steve Tindall
From Lutheran Community Services  February 2014

Editors: This information is prepared for church newsletter editors, secretaries and pastors. Your help in getting the word out is appreciated and will help LCS achieve its mission of “Sharing God’s blessings by helping others in need.” Comments about timing or content are welcome. Contact Steve Tindall ( 302 654 8886.

Female Headed Households Under Pressure

Over 30 percent of the population of the city of Wilmington lives below the poverty line. That means, for example, a family of three is making no more than $19,530. What’s really eye-opening about this is that 77 percent of the city’s poor are members of single female-headed families.  This has been abundantly clear over the holidays when we saw many many women in need. For example, we assisted a 49 year old woman with two kids in early January with her back rent. She got behind in her rent after she had a heart attack. Because of her low paying job, she could only afford to take off ten days of work to recover, which illustrates how poorly prepared many low income people are to handle an emergency – like a heart attack.

More Female Headed Households

Vy and Claire don’t know each other, but their stories are amazingly similar. Both have two kids, owned their own homes, and were foreclosed upon after their relationships broke up and they became single. Both became homeless after that for about a year and lived with family, in cheap motels, or in shelters. Both told of the terrible impact this had on their families. The biggest barrier to obtaining independent housing is to be able to save up enough money for both the security deposit and the first month’s rent (approximately $2,000). LCS couldn’t provide that much, but was able to help with the security deposits so that both families could move into their own housing. We also helped with furniture and food to ease the transition.

Corporate Support

LCS received several wonderful grants recently. The first was from BJ’s Charitable Foundation -- $5,000 to purchase food for our clients. Another $5,000 came from the Thrivent Foundation to UD’s FISH (Fellowship in Serving the Hungry) program, which provides a grocery club for low income people out of St. Paul’s in Newark. LCS is a partner in this ministry. The award money will be used to increase participation and nutrition. Thrivent also gave us a challenge grant through the Matthew 25: Neighbors in Need program.  If we raise $10,000 by March 31, we will receive a $5,000 match. Your help is much appreciated!