Black History Month holds a special place in the heart of Helen Rayon, Health and Wellness Coordinator at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center. It conjures up memories of the civil rights movement many years ago, specifically a day at the age of 20, when she and a group of friends courageously carried out lunch counter sit-ins across Sumter, South Carolina.
The winter of 2017-18 has been a rollercoaster of extremes in Pennsylvania- drastic cold snaps, ice storms, flooding, snow and even more snow. With February 4th being the midpoint of winter, now is time to make sure you are prepared for the second half of the season.
“Searching for resources during a crisis can add extra stress and take valuable time,” said Julia Menzo, Liberty Lutheran’s director of community outreach. “Even if you didn’t take the time in late fall to prepare your home, car or family for winter, you can still be ready for whatever February and March bring.”
Julia also serves as Coordinator for Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (LDR-EPA). Tasked with overseeing disaster preparedness and response for Lutherans in 19 counties of eastern Pennsylvania, Julia has culled resources to help you through the second half of this truly unpredictable winter.
- What you need to know about hypothermia: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothermia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352682
- How to making a family emergency plan: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- How to winterize your car: https://www.dmv.org/how-to-uides/winterize-car.php
- Winter driving tips: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/
- Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning at home: https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
- Preventing winter fires: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/heating.html
- Preventing & treating frozen pipes: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes
- Shoveling snow the right way: https://www.wikihow.com/Shovel-Snow
For more information, contact Julia Menzo, Coordinator, Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-430-1299.
Learn more about LDR-PA at Libertylutheran.org/disaster-recovery-philadelphia-pa
As the nation remembers the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., here’s a special note from Luanne Fisher, Liberty Lutheran President and CEO:
The Community Service Club at Liberty’s Paul’s Run senior living community admirably honors Dr. King’s vital call to action. “Our mission is to support ministries that provide food for those facing food insecurity,” says Julie Stumpf, Director of Spiritual Care.
The Community Service Club, which includes residents and staff, prepares 300-400 sandwiches each month for the Social Ministry of New Creation Lutheran Church. “The sandwiches are picked up by congregational members and taken to homeless individuals who live under bridges and along railroad tracks in the vicinity of North Philadelphia,” says Julie.
The monthly meal preparation continues as the Club prepares an additional 400 sandwiches for St. Francis Inn, a ministry that serves meals to some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in Philadelphia. Additionally, a group of Community Service members prepare 100 full-course dinners monthly for Jane Adamms Place, an emergency homeless shelter in Philadelphia for mothers and their children.
Julie says that it’s greatly rewarding for residents and staff to participate in efforts that help to strengthen and support vulnerable individuals and families. Moreover, both residents and staff members enjoy being part of a large community of caring people that encompasses not only Paul’s Run, but volunteers from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New Creation Lutheran Church, St Francis Inn, and a wide variety of generous food donors that include the Core Group, Whole Foods, Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks, and Weiss Markets.
The initiative at Paul’s Run to support people who cope with food insecurity has been steadily growing over the last few years. The preparation of about 100 meals each month has now grown to 600-900 meals monthly. It’s amazing to witness how this tremendous effort has taken root and awakens a strong sense of purpose and meaning for so many who are involved.
Thank you to Julie and the Community Service Club for the truly impactful and meaningful way you honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Day of Service—on the actual day of this special observance, as well as many days throughout the year.
This past November, Bob and Beverly Bortz celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Married on November 18, 1967, they saw a golden opportunity to give back. The Bortzes chose to use their celebration as a fundraiser for Liberty Lutheran.
“When you need for nothing materially, it is best to give to others,” said Bob.” We didn’t need another bottle of wine or a gift certificate. We suggested that, if guests wished to recognize our milestone in a tangible way, they make a donation to Liberty Lutheran Services.”
To date their friends and family have generously donated over $5,300. “The outpouring of support is overwhelming,” said Beverly. “I am so grateful to our friends and family for making these gifts. It’s just a neat feeling and it makes you feel so good to do something like this for an organization that both of us are honored to be a part of.”
Bob credits Beverly with the clever idea to share in their good fortunes. Married on November 18, 1967, The Bortzes returned to the historic William Penn Inn exactly 50 years later to celebrate their love and commitment to each other. Through their charitableness, they also showed their commitment to Liberty Lutheran’s family of services.
Milestones of 1967:
Average Cost of new house $14,250.00.
Average Income per year $7,300.00.
Average Monthly Rent $125.00.
Gas per Gallon 33 cents.
The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Rolling Stone Magazine’s first issue was printed.
At Liberty Lutheran, we are keeping a close watch on the proposed changes to the United States tax code. While the changes have yet to be finalized, there are aspects being proposed that may affect the residents and members of our communities.
For the seniors in our care, there are two major changes that could affect their wellbeing and their carefully constructed budgets that were planned years in advance.
Any proposed changes in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, services many of our residents rely on, would mean more out of pocket expenses. Changes in medical deduction allowances affect seniors disproportionately as many have come to rely on those deductions.
Combined, these changes could be devastating to our residents who live on fixed-incomes. As they exhaust their savings much earlier than ever expected, this could lead to more residents depending on Liberty’s benevolent care program.
You can provide security today for residents worried about their financial resources. Click here to give today to our benevolent care fund.
There are two other ways to make a gift and save on taxes by the end of the year.
Consider donating appreciated stock, bonds or mutual fund shares, which allows you to take a charitable deduction for the fair market value of the stock and avoid the capital gains tax that you would pay if you sold the shares and then donated the proceeds to Liberty Lutheran. Click here for more information.
Some people have found that a convenient way to support Liberty Lutheran is through a tax benefit known as the Charitable IRA Rollover. For those who are 70½ years of age or older, this benefit allows you to give up to $100,000 from an IRA to a charity, with the donation counting towards your minimum required distribution. The benefit – the donor can deduct the full amount of the donation from gross income for tax purposes. Click here for more information on IRAs.
We are truly grateful for your support and friendship, and hope you will consider Liberty Lutheran Services among your year-end charitable giving decisions.
This past October, the First Youth Program at First Moravian Church in Easton, PA was host to their inaugural class for the Make It, Take It Kitchen program for kids. The six week course aims to teach kids about cooking, nutrition, and food safety. For most of the children in attendance, it was their first time in a professional kitchen, and their first time trying to cook.
Nancy Walters, founder of Make It, Take It Kitchen, was inspired to create the program when she learned that Easton’s West Ward was designated as a USDA food desert and low-income area. According to the American Nutrition Association, a food desert is defined as a part of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers in the region. With this in mind, Nancy saw a need for a resource that could teach residents about nutrition.
“Food insecurity can lead to poor nutritional habits, which can lead to health problems as well as obesity, from relying upon too easily available processed or fast foods,” said Nancy. “I believe that if we support individuals and families in practicing cooking healthy, nutritious meals at home, we can impact the overall health in our community.”
Liberty’s Lutheran Congregational Services (LCS) was instrumental in securing key grants to make the Make It, Take It Kitchen program possible. “Building the initial connection between Make It, Take It Kitchen and the funders was a role LCS gladly accepted,” said Julia Menzo, Liberty’s director of community outreach. “Many organizations don’t realize what grants and funding are out there to help programs start and thrive. LCS connects the dots between like-minded organizations to make successful connections and spur growth.”
LCS staff and Nancy worked together to secure grants from First Presbyterian Church of Easton, Arndt’s Lutheran Church of Easton, and Cooking Matters, a national program that provides nutrition info and cooking classes for low income children teens and families helped the Make It, Take It Kitchen start off strong. “The grants are the route to our success because this was designed to be volunteer driven, with no paid staff,” said Nancy.
At graduation in November, the once kitchen-naive chefs showed off their new found skills by cooking for their families at a special ceremony. They also received a backpack with a booklet of all the recipes they made, plus the kitchen tools they used each week so they can keep cooking at home. “If you want to make a nutritious soup for your family but you don’t have a cutting board, a knife and a soup pot, then how do you continue to make that nutritious meal?” said Nancy.
“The program was designed to be replicated by other faith-based or service groups,” said Nancy. Make It, Take It Kitchen classes are not just for kids; three classes for adults were held in the past year at various locations in Easton. As the program builds, Nancy would like to expand the number of classes taught, and translate all materials to Spanish to reach a wider audience.
Thanksgiving is a time when we traditionally pause to consider everything we appreciate about our lives and those that surround us. It also reminds us that there are many worthy causes that need our support.
After you finish your “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” holiday shopping, please consider giving back to your community and helping so many in need with a gift to Liberty Lutheran on what is known as “Giving Tuesday” – Tuesday, November 28.
Help Bring Nature’s Beauty to Seniors
Nature is medicine for the soul. At Paul’s Run, nature abounds in our gardens and outdoor spaces. Located throughout our property, these specially designed and maintained areas inspire and bring joy to our residents.
Help us raise $3,000 to delight the hearts and souls of the Paul’s Run community by sustaining and improving our gardens – The Friendship Garden, The Secret Garden, and the Liberty Walk Garden.
You can make your gift here.
Helping Hurricane Recovery Efforts – LDR-EPA
Through the Hurricane Relief Campaign, Lutheran Disaster Response-EPA has brought together congregations, community and government organizations to assemble cleanout kits, hygiene kits, and school kits. Each contains items that will set those in affected areas on the road to recovery.
Your gift will help us reach our $1,000 goal.
Help Improve the Health & Wellbeing of West Philly Seniors
Health is a blessing, never to be taken for granted. With your help, the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center can save another life.
LCFS’ West Philadelphia Senior Community Center stands as an integral resource for older adults in West Philadelphia, providing services to one of the city’s most underserved communities. Daily we are improving lives through nutrition and wellness programs.
You can make your gift here.
Help Us Cement a Legacy of Care at Artman!
Help Artman complete an epic work of art that embodies a century of care, joy and empowerment.
Over the past year and as part of Artman’s centennial celebration, residents, their families, and staff joined together to mold terracotta tiles for a four panel mosaic entitled Seasons of our Lives. The 10-foot-high panels depict the splendor and grace of the four seasons—fall, winter, spring and summer.
Place your mark on this epic project and help finish it with your gift today.
Liberty Lutheran and our Family of Services are proud to join other organizations, charities, community centers, businesses, families, students and others from across the world for the #GivingTuesday philanthropic movement.
You can follow the progress of our #GivingTuesday campaigns by following Liberty Lutheran on Twitter @LibertyLutheran.
“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” – Erma Bombeck, American Humorist
They came together from sixteen different local congregations and organizations, yet they shared one vision – to help those affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. On Thursday night, fifty volunteers joined with Lutheran Disaster Response – Eastern PA (LDR-EPA) for a Cleanup Kit Rally at Christ Lutheran Church in Kulpsville, PA.
“It was exhilarating seeing so many people find a tangible way they could help,” said Julia Menzo, director of community outreach for LDR-EPA. Volunteers were asked to contribute supplies needed for the kits to their home congregation; the congregations then brought the supplies to the rally. “We accepted donations large and small. If you could only give your congregation one box of trash bags, or a few bottles of dish soap, every donation was accepted to become part of the larger collection and donation. People who didn’t think they could help were able to do so through this project.”
Supplies included in the cleanup kits are a 5-gallon round bucket, liquid laundry detergent, liquid household cleaner, dish soap, a clothesline, clothespins, sponges, trash bags, cleaning wipes, air freshener, gloves, scouring pads, insect repellent and more. Complete instructions can be found here. The cleanup kits are valued at $65 each and built following a list provided by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The kits will be distributed to UMCOR to areas still recovering from the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Our heartfelt thanks to those who participated from:
- Christ Lutheran Church of Harleysville
- Christ Lutheran Church of Springtown
- Grace Lutheran Church of Hatfield
- Liberty Lutheran Services
- Little Zion Lutheran Church of Telford
- Montgomery County Department of Public Safety
- John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Morrisville
- John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ridge Valley
- John’s Lutheran Church of Folcraft
- John’s Lutheran Church of Richlandtown
- John’s Lutheran Church of Spinnerstown
- John’s Lutheran Church of Sumneytown
- The Confirmation class from Trinity Lutheran of Lansdale
- The Kids Co-Op from Bethlehem
- Thrivent Financial
LDR-EPA’s depth of experience in long-term recovery and wide network of disaster partners enables us to efficiently connect survivors with the appropriate resources, coordinate a corps of volunteers to assist with recovery, and provide congregations with the training and resources needed to best serve impacted communities.
If you would like further information on how you can help, or would like to make a donation to Lutheran Disaster Response – Eastern PA, please visit Libertylutheran.org/ldr.
The historic flooding caused by Hurricanes Harvey has impacted millions of people in Texas. Many of those families are served by Upbring, the local Lutheran Disaster Response affiliate for those in Louisiana and Texas.
As we in the northeast watch the devastation, our natural thoughts are to find ways we can help those in need. Please consider making a donation now to ELCA Hurricane Harvey Response or to Upbring. Recovery from a storm such as Hurricane Harvey will take years, and while federal funds and some organizations are in Texas now to help with recovery and relief efforts, organizations such as ELCA Hurricane Harvey Response or Upbring look to the long-term health and recovery of a region affected by disasters.
What you can do now for those in Texas:
Please pray for the people who have been affected and are in the path of Hurricane Harvey. May God’s healing presence give them peace and hope in their time of need.
To those interested in volunteering, consider these ideas, some perfect for God’s Work Our Hands Sunday September 10, 2017.
Hold a bake sale/yard sale/community fundraiser and send the funds raised to “US Hurricane Relief.”
Assemble cleanout kits for use by flood victims:
UMCOR Cleaning Kit
UMCOR Hygiene Kit
UMCOR School Kit
Drop off locations in Pennsylvania
Host a work team training for your congregation. In the months and years ahead volunteers will be needed to rebuild homes destroyed by flooding in Houston and across the country.
Take stock of your congregation’s resources to support your own community in times of emergency. Build relationships with community partners and local emergency management so you can support your community in disaster.
The Community Service Club at Liberty’s Paul’s Run Senior Living Community recently made school kits for children affected by the hurricane. In this short video, they show you all the supplies you need to make a kit. Watch on YouTube here.
Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA continues to collaborate with partner agencies to keep up to date on unfolding events related to Hurricane Harvey including: Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR), National and Pennsylvania VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), Upbring (the local LDR affiliate in Texas), United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and County Departments of Emergency Services.
Find us on Facebook at Lutheran Congregational Services for the most up to date information about Hurricane Harvey Response.
Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA (LDR-EPA) recently joined with environmental,educational, and health-related agencies to visit the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center to teach older adults about the impact of extreme heat on their health and homes and how to best combat these circumstances.
Thanks to the proactive advocacy of Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA, this is the first time that climate scientists, environmentalists, and energy and health professionals in the Philadelphia metropolitan area integrated disaster preparation and the effects of intense heat on seniors as part of a broad discussion on how to plan for and manage extreme weather.
“It’s important to join the knowledge and tools used in disaster preparation with a conversation around extreme weather. Our area is already experiencing hotter summers. According to the Philadelphia Department of Health, between 1948 and 2014 the Philadelphia average daily temperature has been rising at .4°F per year,” says Julia Menzo, coordinator of LDR-EPA.
The focus on older adults is especially necessary because this population is particularly at risk in extreme heat. “Older adults are more likely to be living on a fixed income and may not have ready access to information or resources, or know how to access information in times of emergency,” says Julia.
Partners who joined with LDR-EPA to provide the workshop included the Clean Air Council, Drexel University, the Energy Coordinating Agency, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The comprehensive workshop covered the practical improvements older adults can make in their home environment to help reduce dampness and mold, conserve energy, and regulate indoor temperature. In addition, it provided information on local resources that are available in extreme weather conditions, as well as a review of Philadelphia’s new extreme heat plan.