If I had to use one word to describe Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) throughout the last couple of months, it would be “resilient.” Like many other organizations, we had big plans and lofty goals for this year, but we had to switch up our gameplan. Plans of applying to grants for new funding sources are now being written to provide relief for COVID-19. Inaugural events have been postponed. Impactful programs that were once driven by our passionate volunteers have had to be put on hold. Despite all of this, our work has not lost any value.
As Communications Manager, I have been lucky enough to have the option of working from home, unlike many of my staff partners, who bravely work on the frontlines every single day to continue to serve those who need it most. On Sundays I have had the privilege of working alongside the team from the Central Kitchen, packaging and serving meals to some of our residents from the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside at one of our temporary site locations.
Acting CEO & COO Maria Foschia, alongside our committed team of VPs and Directors, have stepped up in a big way and advocated for the needs of our staff. Dedicated LMM employees have been flexible and volunteered to pack and serve meals, some have even stepped into new roles to meet the need. Being a fairly new employee with LMM, not only the ability, but the willingness of staff and leadership to adjust to the times has been something powerful to be a part of. There have been inspiring stories told by staff members of the sacrifices they have made to continue to do this work. This only motivates me and those around me to work even harder.
Not only has staff shown resilience, but those we serve have done their best to remain strong while adjusting to the times. Throughout these past few months, COVID-19 has brought to the spotlight many of the realities and inequities that vulnerable populations had previously been facing on a daily basis, prior to the virus. COVID-19 has only amplified the struggles of these vulnerable populations, many of whom we serve at LMM. Necessities such as obtaining safe, affordable housing, developing the proper skillset to secure stable employment or even simply finding their next meal were once challenging tasks for many of these individuals, but have become even more difficult as a result of the virus. Racial minorities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, which has similarly been an issue with many other illnesses and diseases.
For over 50 years, LMM has dedicated its work to providing these populations with the tools and support they need to obtain these necessities. We’ve made a dedicated effort not only to provide those we serve with these tools and support, but to advocate for their needs at the federal, state and local levels. It’s a privilege to work for an organization that prioritizes the needs of those we serve, regardless of the circumstances. The work LMM is doing is vital and, despite COVID-19, there is no intention of slowing down.
Written by Connor O’Brien, LMM Communications Manager