The following is an overview of the organizations that LCOS’s outreach ministries serves continually throughout the year:
CARITAS is an acronym for Congregations Around Richmond Involved To Assure Shelter. Their mission statement is as follows: “United by our compassion, CARITAS helps our most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of addiction and homelessness to reclaim their dignity.” The most basic tasks of CARITAS are to provide shelter, food, and fellowship to those in need. Since its inception CARITAS has expanded to offer job training, substance abuse rehabilitation, and a furniture bank. While CARITAS started out as a program that only offered shelter in the winter months, it is now a full-time yearly operation.
LCOS has participated in CARITAS in various ways for at least 20 years. Recently we have partnered with our friends at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Fordham Road. While they do the physical hosting of the guests for one week, we have stepped in to provide lunches, laundry supplies, overnight helpers, and other assistance where needed. This gives both congregations a chance to share the work and the rewards.
Richmond Friends of the Homeless
RFOH was started by Shawnee Hanson in 1986. Her goal was to “strengthen and enrich the community life of the underprivileged and homeless in Richmond, Virginia.” RFOH provides services in four main areas: daily lunch, children’s services, Camp Camille, and health and wellness. A nutritious hot lunch is served at two locations Monday through Friday, and bagged lunches are served on weekends at a third location. Approximately 375 lunches in total are served per day Monday through Friday, and weekend amounts vary. RFOH also provides school supplies to children, warm clothes, summer camp opportunities, and homework help. Health and wellness concerns are met by volunteers and staff from the Cross Over Clinic. These things are funded by donations from the community and a large fundraiser that takes place once a year. This is just a brief overview of the work being accomplished by this wonderful organization.
LCOS has been partnered with RFOH for many years. We provide a hot lunch the second Wednesday of every month where the average attendance is 110. In addition to the monthly lunches served, LCOS has provided gloves and hats, school supplies, Easter bags with candy, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and financial assistance to this wonderful organization.
CCHASM is an acronym for Chesterfield Colonial Heights Alliance for Social Ministry. This organization is a nonprofit that services Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, and Prince George Counties, as well as the cities of Hopewell and Colonial Heights, and the zip codes of 23080 and 23805 in Petersburg. CCHASM has been in operation for 30 years and has a reputation of integrity plus compassion for people in their service area who are experiencing emergency needs. CCHASM may assist clients with rent/mortgage, utility bills, or other miscellaneous bills as funds are available and after the client has completed a screening process. They can also help clients with access to two food pantries and a career clothing cottage. The cottage is open two days a week and assists women with the proper clothing for job interviews or work. CCHASM’s Thanksgiving Meal Program provides food for the holiday for approximately 2600 families per year.
LCOS uses CCHASM as a resource when our church gets a phone call or people stop by the church asking for help. Outreach provides financial assistance to this organization that allows them to use it wherever there is need.
Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Christmas Mother Program is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1972 by Miss Lucy Coor, Director of Social Services. When she realized she could no longer handle the special needs of those in the community who needed help at Christmas, she enlisted the aid of community volunteers. The sole purpose of the program is “to insure that no child in our community is without food, new toys and clothing and no elderly person is forgotten as we celebrate the holidays.”
LCOS has participated in this program for at least 22 years. We usually sponsor 5 or 6 families and help fill their Christmas wishes, along with providing enough food for a wonderful holiday meal with all the trimmings. We have also provided toys and gift cards to families that do not have named sponsors.
Lutheran Family Services
Lutheran Family Services (LFS) of Virginia celebrated its 125 anniversary in 2013. LFS helps children in foster care find temporary or permanent families, help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities live and thrive in their communities, and help children with emotional and behavioral challenges find success in the classroom, their family, and life.
LCOS has partnered with LFS for many years by providing Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need. We have also provided first aid kits, books, household supplies, clothing, and financial support when needed.