This month our social justice offering will go to a local neighborhood organization, La Casa Norte, and will be be collected on Sunday, January 11. The social justice committee chose this organization due to their ongoing work to provide housing for our neighbors – something our congregation is continually advocating for, most recently at the Posada event at Lathrop homes. La Casa Norte does wonderful work, running 45 emergency shelters for homeless youth throughout the city with a full spectrum of support services. In a neighborhood increasingly feeling the results of gentrification, with many of our neighbors being forced to leave their homes due to rising rents, organizations like La Casa Norte have never been more important.
We are also privileged to have a member of our St. Luke’s community work with La Casa Norte. SommerAnn McCullough works with the development team at La Casa Norte and in anticipation of this month’s offering, we asked her to share some thoughts on her work with the organization:
“I first began my mission-based work at La Casa Norte as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in August 2013, serving as the Volunteer Coordinator. As I delved into the Chicago nonprofit scene, I learned about the impact LCN has not only on homeless youth and families in Chicago, but also on its community neighbors. In addition to serving just under 2,000 youth and families each year, the services we offer give back to the community at-large and foster a safe and respectful space for all individuals regardless of their background. What I respect most about LCN and our work is our philosophy of harm-reduction and housing first, where we meet individuals where they are at in their lives and know that stable housing is the first step in stabilizing one’s life.
I value LCN’s commitment to Humboldt Park and the surrounding communities, having based our work for 12 years out of our office on North Ave. In the last two years, we have expanded to serve the youth and families in Logan Square and Back of the Yards, allowing our services to reach those who need us most. For me, the most rewarding experience is talking with volunteers who are overjoyed to have served a Christmas meal to our youth sleeping at our Logan Square Emergency Beds Shelter or speaking with a DePaul student whose 20 hours of community service have truly impacted their experience of becoming a Chicagoan. While our work truly impacts those who receive our services each day, I also look for the ways we touch people’s lives who are involved with our mission and are able to connect more with Chicago and their community through our service.”