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Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

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Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

March 2014

Dear Neighbors,

Abundance can be hard to experience when life presents challenges, but it is all around us. It is what is possible between us.

Sometimes, understanding just how much abundance we have in our lives comes over time, once we’ve had the chance to look back over all that has happened since we first took the step to ask for help, or to offer it. This month, we share the stories of lives that were changed when people came together to give and recieve.

Together, we can offer support to help people overcome challenges, and live more abundant lives. Thank you for loving the neighbor.

Hung Pham: Coming to America

1988 At 15, Hung traveled alone to the United States from Vietnam.

2013 Married, father of two boys and working as a chemist in Chicago.

Hung Pham

Hung Pham traveled alone from his home in Vietnam to escape a communist regime and find a better life in America. That better life included settling in Minnesota with the Douglas family.

On an ordinary work day in 1989, Monica Douglas’ life was changed, too, when she answered the call of a co-worker to open her family and their home to a young man from Vietnam. That evening, they welcomed Hung into their family forever. “Hung’s arrival provided our family with a blessing we never could have imagined,” she said.

Read more about Pham’s journey to Minnesota >

With the fall of Saigon in 1975, LSS began serving thousands of Southeast Asian refugees like Hung Pham. We continue to support refugees today.

Yakov Grichener: The Best Thing is Doing Something for Others

1987 Yakov retired from teaching mathematics at Minnetonka High School.

2013 Retired from 25 years of service as an LSS Senior Companion.

Yakov Grichener

Yakov has always heard the calling to help others. After immigrating to the United States from the former Soviet Union to help his family find more opportunities, he acquired a teaching license to help young students grow and learn.

About the time of his retirement, Yakov received a call asking him to volunteer for the Senior Companions program. He didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Read more about Yakov's story >

Working with its partners, LSS has matched Senior Companions with older adults across Minnesota since it assumed the service in 1991.

Learn more about Senior Companions >

Payday Lending - Action Needed

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) financial counselors serve 10,000 families each year. Financial counselors see the devastating impact of payday loans - small-dollar, high-interest loans that require full payback within a short period of time. The typical borrower takes out an average of ten payday loans at triple digit interest rates that can exceed 800%, trapping people in a cycle of indebtedness.

The Payday Lending Reform Act (HF2293/SF2368) has passed both committees in the House and Senate and awaits further action. Please contact your Senator and Representative today to encourage their support >

Volunteer Opportunities

Support Metro Homeless Youth

Many youth experiencing homelessness come to Metro Homeless Youth Services with nothing, or maybe with a backpack stuffed with very few possessions. Your in-kind gifts help us provide basic hygiene supplies, clothing, household items, school supplies and much more. Donations are needed throughout the year. See the wish list >

Be a Buddy

Reach out to someone with a disability and build a new friendship by becoming a Buddy. Help a buddy learn to read; volunteer together in the community; go for walks; share dinner out; other interests the indivual may have. This might be a fun volunteer activity to do with a friend! Become a buddy >

Offer Hope to Refugees

Offer hope and a helping hand to refugees as they start their new lives in Minnesota. As a Mentor, you will learn to be a guide and friend for a refugee family during the challenging first months in a new culture. You might greet newly-arrived families at the airport; prepare a welcome meal for the family; ensure everyone has the basic necessities. Training provided. Learn more about becoming a mentor >

Upcoming Events

Homeless Youth Luncheons

Celebration For Changing Lives 2014

On any given night, 4,000 Minnesota youth are homeless. Youth experiencing homelessness are forced by circumstance to face adult challenges before they should. They need more than just a bed, they need to be supported and cared for at this critical moment in their lives.

We strive to make certain youth know they are important and cared for. Join us in supporting youth in our community. Together we can end youth homelessness.

Duluth Homeless Youth Luncheon

Thursday, May 8, 2014
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Greysolon Ballroom
231 East Superior Street
Duluth, MN

RSVP by Monday, May 1 to:

Amy Lee

Metro Homeless Youth Luncheon

Wednesday, May 14
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Ramada Plaza Minneapolis
1330 Industrial Blvd NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

RSVP Online >

Adoption Fair

Adoption Fair

Saturday, April 5
9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Children's Home & Lutheran Social Service
1605 Eustis Street
Saint Paul, MN 55108


  • Free, no obligation open house
  • Learn about international, foster care and infant adoption programs, plus post-adoption resources
  • Talk to adoptive families and meet our friendly, knowledgeable adoption specialists

Celebration For Changing Lives

Celebration For Changing Lives

Saturday, September 13
Hilton Minneapolis

Please save this date. More details about this year's Celebration will follow.

Would you like to host a table? Table Captains play an important role in the success of the Celebration.

Contact Kathy Vigil:

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Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota expresses the love of Christ for all people through service that inspires hope, changes lives, and builds community. LSS serves all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age.

© 2014 Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota | 2485 Como Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108 | 651.642.5990 | 1.800.582.5260

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