Lutheran Social Services is located in the heart of a busy, bustling area of Long Beach. It’s in a nondescript, large brick building that houses a big warehouse and offices. Food distribution is scheduled to start at 10am and when I arrive at 8:30am, people are already lined up and security guards are organizing sign-in sheets. As I walk into the warehouse, I am greeted warmly by a Lutheran Social Services volunteer who is in the middle of packing plastic bags of food for their clients.
Lutheran Social Services provides these bags of food four days a week for 200 people – each day. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, the food pantry program is only one of 12 different programs offered. Lutheran Social Services strives to offer comprehensive emergency assistance to their clients and has several referral programs to help meet various needs: employment, mental health, education, ESL classes, clothing, rental and utility assistance. They have a small staff that provides case management for their clients in order to not only help with their immediate basic needs but to also help reach long-term solutions for their lives.
It is because of the dedication and love of Lutheran Social Services’ community of volunteers that they are able to reach the growing trend of people who find themselves unemployed and in immediate need.
On to the next agency…