A free meal program was started in 1997 for people in our community and our congregation. It is open to all who come. We started out serving 50-60 people a week and now serve 150+ a week. There are many opportunities for service with this group – you can cook, serve, clean up, sit and visit with our guests, or whatever you are comfortable doing.
The Women’s Clothes Closet was started as a project by a student social worker at UW La Crosse. Its mission is to provide up-to-date clothing for women entering or re-entering the work force. Our Savior’s has been operating the Clothes Closet since 2000. The Women’s Clothes Closet Advisory Board has sorting parties and clothing drives to keep the Clothes Closet orderly and functional.
Lutheran World Relief
During the year, the Social Ministry Board undertakes three Lutheran World Relief projects. They are Health Kits, Layettes and School Kits. At various times during the year, kits (zip lock bags with lists inside) are available in the green crates in the Narthex. Pick up and kit and fill it with the items requested and return it to the green crates.
- Layettes are wonderful gifts of Christian love for new mothers all over the world. Our knitters make sweaters for the kits each year and we complete the kits with diapers and pins, sleepers, undershirts, washcloths and soap.
- Health Kits are given out in many situations – earthquakes, floods, refugee camps, and war torn countries. Often these people flee their homes with nothing more than the clothing on their backs. These kits contain a wash cloth and hand towel, soap, Band-Aids, comb, nail file, toothbrush and toothpaste.
- School Kits are made up during September. Lutheran World Relief uses these kits that contain notebooks, ruler, pencils and pencil sharpener, erasers, crayons to help school and adult literacy programs. Members of the Social Ministry Board sew the canvas bags for the school kits.
Kits for Kids
Kits for Kids gives duffel bags to children who are entering foster care for the first time. This project is coordinated through La Crosse County Social Services. Kits include a T-shirt, a sweat suit, hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, a stuffed animal, a night-light and a special book about foster children. At any given time, La Crosse County has 150 children in foster care. Many of these kids have their meager belongings in a grocery sack or a garbage bag. These kits help them and their foster parents get through the first night with necessities.
HALOS, which stands for “Helping and Lending Outreach Support”, provides a mechanism by which religious, civic, community, and business groups and individuals can make a significant difference in the lives of local families. HALOS Partners provide La Crosse County social workers with resources and tangible goods and services which can then be distributed to families in need. Our Savior’s is a proud partner of the La Crosse County HALOS Project.
Coulee Region Transitional Housing
The Coulee Region Transitional Housing Ministry (CRTHM) is an ecumenical group concerned with the well being and dignity of all women. CRTHM works with New Horizons Shelter and Women’s Center to provide safe and acceptable transitional housing and financial assistance for women and children who have experienced domestic violence in their lives. Contact Debbie Dukatz for more information.
LICAH (La Crosse Interfaith Collaborative for Affordable Housing) is looking for mentors to help guide their mentees through daily rental housing/budget issues. The mentors visit their mentees in pairs and spend 30 to 45 minutes each month for a twelve month period. Complete training is provided along with a mentor support group. Contact Rod Tisthammer for more information.
AMOS is an interfaith congregation-based coalition working to build more compassionate communities in southwest Wisconsin. Our Saviors is proud to be a member congregation of AMOS, and participates yearly in AMOS’s Share the Bounty Program, as well as hosts AMOS’s yearly Harvest of Justice Advocacy dinner.