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2021: Looking Back as We Continue to Move Forward

Published on 05/23/2022

We did it! We not only endured another pandemic year, we did our best to make it a better one! Thanks to our many dedicated staff, volunteers, clients, and supporters, we kept going. We innovated. We adapted. We worked together. Now that it officially is a new year, we can look back and reflect on 2021.

Despite challenges, LCS continued to serve in each of our three areas: Emergency Financial Assistance (Homelessness Prevention), Food Pantries, and Health Services (Smoking Cessation and the Delaware Food Farmacy). Here are some highlights from and a link to blog stories about each.

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Emergency Financial Assistance / Homelessness Prevention

With an increasing demand, our dedicated homelessness prevention staff persevered as funding sources and application procedures changed several times throughout the year. LCS pivoted to serve as one of three community partners to help tenants navigate the state rental assistance program (DEHAP) in New Castle County. This enables us to provide significantly more funds to clients in need.

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Our hope is that individuals reach out to us as soon as they worry about not being able to pay the rent or cover the cost of utilities. Earlier this year, Theresa shared her experience.

“After fighting with myself about needing the help, I began to look and it seemed as though there were no funds available or maybe just didn’t have the right resources until I was told about LCS.” 

“Mrs. Washington was able to take control of the situation while never making me feel like I was inhumane for needing the help. I truly appreciate her for her patience.  LCS truly was a blessing during a time of need.”

We helped 155 households, 357 people with back rent and utilities, administering over $357,000 in financial aid

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Food Pantries

Even with challenges of the ongoing pandemic, LCS adjusted and kept our food pantries  open. With partner churches and organizations, we supported 12 food distribution sites (daily and monthly) and 3 low income senior communities.

“It’s not just about the food,” Richard Porto, coordinator at our Unity pantry, explained, “It’s about the relationships. Asking, ‘How are you doing? How are the kids?’ is just as or more important than getting their order.”

Tracey, at our Baynard location, agreed, “Lutheran Community Services has been wonderful to me, my family, and my friends. The folks here are helpful and caring.”

We welcomed 13,163 household visits to our pantries and food distributions, serving over 25,000 people with enough food to make some 300,000 meals.

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Health Services: Smoking Cessation and Delaware Food Farmacy

Our Smoking Cessation program continued to offer quit assistance to individuals hoping to kick the habit. Our Smoking Cessation Specialist Franco Thomas encouraged, “There are so many barriers to quitting, money being a big one. What most people don’t realize is that it’s free - with no catches.” 

LCS currently is processing product vouchers and supporting face to face coaches. In 2022, we will engage in more smoking cessation outreach to the community organizations and to healthcare providers.

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In March, we launched the Delaware Food Farmacy with partner ChristianaCare. LCS delivers healthy food as medicine to patients every week.

In September, we celebrated our first graduate of the program. When asked what suggestions she had for others in the Food Farmacy program, she quickly replied, “Don’t be afraid to try new things.” Then, even more passionately, she added, “It’s okay to tell them what you do and don’t like. Don’t worry about letting them know what does or doesn’t work for you. They won’t be upset. They want to know.”

We are expanding the Delaware Food Farmacy in 2022, increasing our capacity to up to 100 patients and their families in the program at a time.

In order to provide the services above, LCS relies on its supporters and volunteers. Thank you!

We made 440 deliveries to Delaware Food Farmacy patients and their families, providing enough food for 10,000 medically tailored meals.

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Supporters

Our dedicated volunteers helped keep us going even during stressful times - thank you!

Our annual Room at the Table event took advantage of the virtual format to share behind the scenes videos and interviews with current and potential supporters.

In September, we held the 30th annual Hunger Walk/Run in person at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. Thank you to everyone who made this event a success, with a record $71,000 raised for our food programs. We enjoyed seeing so many of you!

We moved the Golf Outing to October and enjoyed a beautiful fall day at Bidermann Golf Club with our supporters.  We were grateful to set a new record for our number of corporate sponsors this year.

To learn more about our sponsors, please visit our supporters  page!.

We received 650 generous in-kind donations valued at $95,000.  450 volunteers served our community in a variety of roles.
    
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Expanding our Reach

In 2021, we developed additional  ways to communicate with our stakeholders and clients. 

Early in the spring, we launched a new website (lcsde.org). In addition to updating our organization information, it also provides financial assistance forms and program details directly to clients.  Check us out!

We welcomed Jenn Ruebush, one of the first members of New Castle County's National Health Corps Delaware, who contributed to our new blog page.

We purchased and customized a new delivery van - honk if you see us (or maybe just wave)!

We also began delivering food and personal/household items to several senior communities each month.

The Numbers

Thanks to the generosity of individual and churches, the success of our special events, increased institutional support from collaborations and grants, and prudent expense management, LCS has turned the corner on its financial condition over the past two years. We have operated at a surplus, which enables us to have an operating cash reserve without having to draw funds from the Martin Luther Foundation, establish a building maintenance fund, and most importantly, puts us in a position to invest in our program delivery.

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