Pandemic Brings Hope and Heroes

Published Sep 17, 2020
By: Diane Behm

The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives in ways that are too many to count. My prayer for you at this time is that you are safe, well and at peace. I also pray in gratitude for your compassion. Through the years, and especially now, you have treated our clients like family – providing for those who do not have a safe place to live, food in their stomachs or trusted resources to help with their physical and mental health.

Thank You!

Recently, my leadership team and I had the privilege of placing more than 30
“Heroes Work Here” signs in front of our LSS facilities. Just as hospitals and
medical personnel are delivering essential services to the many in need of
physical healing, so too is LSS delivering essential services to the many who
are often “hidden” from the mainstream due to fear, stigma and with limited to-
no-access to necessary resources. We enact our vision of healthy communities filled with people using their God-given gifts to serve by helping to remove the stressors and barriers (e.g., poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, mental illness, addiction, etc.)
that obstruct our clients’ full potential. Most importantly, we give them the
opportunities and tools to voice their concerns and needs for themselves and
others.

Serving in this capacity on the “front lines” for over a century – and in this unprecedented time – has helped to prevent unessential visits to emergency rooms, premature moves to long-term care facilities and encounters with law enforcement. All of our services combined have helped people of all ages, ethnicities and abilities to thrive while realizing a substantial cost savings for healthcare, the criminal justice system and tax payers.

Our clients are also grateful for LSS and have even shared their stories with local media recently:

Sean, a 34-year-old Chef suddenly laid off from his job, is receiving support from a temporary 24/7 shelter run collaboratively by LSS Positives Avenues and other agencies. Sean recalls in the article how homeless individuals would seek out a nook or crevice to get out of the wind. “It’s definitely a plus for a lot of these people to have someplace to go during the day,” said Sean. Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire 4/16/2020.

Yamileth works as a nurse and has legal guardianship of her grandchildren. Our School-Centered Mental Health therapist Ivy has been working with her children on practicing patience and empathy. Yamileth said, “I’m the one that gets the benefits because they are doing so well at home.” Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee 4/12/2020

Unlike hospitals, human services organizations like LSS operate with little or no cash reserves. The revenue we receive from government grants do not cover the full cost of providing services. In addition, charitable contributions are down and annual fundraising events on hold, making it even more challenging for us to provide our necessary – often life-saving – services.

LSS is not eligible for the current C.A.R.E.S and other federal aid due to our employee size of 800 which complicates our situation even further. We are required to adapt, innovate and collaborate with others to get through this…and that is exactly what we will continue to do.

You Can Help!

“We are in this together” means more today than it ever has before. We have set up the LSS Response Fund to address the immediate and subsequent needs of the tens of thousands of children, youth and adults we serve throughout our two-state reach.

Be a Mission Champion by scheduling a recurring monthly gift. With your ongoing support, LSS can purchase bus tickets for clients without transportation, staff our 24/7 hotline for people in crisis, provide daily meals for hundreds that come to our homeless day centers and more. The federal stimulus package is offering additional incentives for charitable giving, so all gifts will have greater impact. If you are planning to make a gift later in the year, I ask that you consider an immediate donation of $50, $100, $500
or $1,000.