Volunteers for All Seasons
Three years ago, it started with the words, "Yes. We can do that."
From there, volunteers at Bethlehem Lutheran Church-St. Charles, have shared their time and resources with children in foster care and their foster parents, continuing its long volunteer history with LSSI.
With its first annual Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner in November 2015, Bethlehem volunteers now have at least one volunteer project per season, said Kelly Collins, Director of Care and Connection. The event honored foster parents served by LSSI's Aurora office. It enabled them to enjoy fellowship with others who share the unique joys and challenges of being foster parents.
The church's youth group organized games and activities for the children. The church's involvement with LSSI's foster care program grew from a call Collins received three years ago from LSSI with a request to donate 200 backpacks and school supplies for children in foster care.
"Our church inspires us to go out and live our discipleship," said Bethlehem member and volunteer Sue Kellner, who works on the backpack drive and Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner. "I've gotten back so much more than I’ve given."
"LSSI is our ministry," Collins said, referring to the organization's role as the statewide social service agency of the Illinois synods of the ELCA. "We belong to it, and it belongs to us."