Walk a Mile in My Shoes

For many years, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) has provided food and encouraging words to thousands in our community who feed their families with the help of LSS food pantries. Most recently, LSS became the coordinating agency for 13 additional pantries operating as part of the “Feed Your Neighbor” network.

Recently, coordinators of these community resources came together to share their expertise. The coordinators of these pantries are frequent volunteers who spend countless hours arranging for the collection and distribution of tens of thousands of pounds of canned, frozen and packaged food as well as fresh meat, dairy and produce.

“Feed Your Neighbor” pantries are housed in both Lutheran and non-Lutheran churches and several other community sites. All provide food, while two pantries in this group supply personal care and hygiene products.

Work at the pantries can be tiring, physically demanding, and emotionally draining for both the coordinators and the many volunteers on whom they rely.

One May day, a man without shoes appeared at the door of the Point Place food pantry. Tears in his eyes, the man questioned whether the pantry would provide him with food. In case we hadn’t noticed, he pointed out that he had no shoes. Dirty toes peeked out from below the desk, but his discomfort was for those in the pantry who might view him as being “unsanitary” and he did not want to compromise the comfort level of others. The man expressed that “he had never been in this position before and didn’t ever think he would be.” With reassuring words, our “man without shoes” was welcomed as a friend… needed food soon filled his paper bags and the church was quickly raided by volunteers searching for an extra pair of shoes that might provide further comfort. As he left the pantry that day, well-worn boots—although without laces—adorned our friend’s feet. “I have shoes!”

All in a day’s work for these volunteers…a witness to the very best we can be.

-Terri Rodriguez, President & CEO

 

Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio

Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio (LSSNWO) is a Christian agency founded in 1911 by the Fremont Conference of the American Lutheran Church. LSSNWO is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and recognized by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). More than 200 Lutheran congregations in Northwestern Ohio are corporate members of LSSNWO. Lutheran Social Services also is a member of one of the nation’s largest service organization – Lutheran Services of America.