Last week, LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry Dogs with their veteran handlers, and LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs with their handlers across the country participated in the annual National Wreaths Across America Day.
Each December on this day, Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,100 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad to "REMEMBER the Fallen, HONOR those who serve, TEACH our children the value of freedom."
On Tuesday, December 15, LCC K-9 Police Ministry Dog Julia (King of Glory – Elgin, Illinois) with law enforcement handler Corporal Terri Albright from the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, assisted in wrapping gifts to support the Story Book Program at the DuPage County Correctional Facility. This program is a collaboration with JUST of DuPage and SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) where 51 children will receive gifts on behalf of their incarcerated parent. Once a month, inmates who are enrolled in the program record themselves reading a story book or chapters of a longer book. The recordings and copies of the books supplied by SCARCE are then sent to their children.
“It’s wonderful to see the connections and impact that K-9 Comfort Dog Julia is making with the inmates each time she visits with me. Inmates involved in this program know they’ve made serious mistakes but many are working to turn their life around,” said Corporal Albright. “Having the chance to feel the non-judgmental comfort and friendship of Julia gives them the hope and encouragement they need during the difficulties of incarceration and rehabilitation.”
“A lot of people don’t realize that incarceration leaves a family behind and those people aren’t suspects. They’re victims. They’re dealing with the holidays and everything else going on the in world with a parent incarcerated,” said Sheriff James Mendrick. “That’s got to be a tough thing to live with at home. I think this is going to make a big impact where it’s really needed.”
“Christmas is a hard enough time as it is for these children and this year we have no visitation to top it off,” said JUST Executive Director Michael Beary. “We already knew these inmates’ backgrounds and we know they are connected to their children through the Story Book program so it just seemed like the best fit for the money that otherwise would have been spent on a holiday party.”
DuPage County Board District 2 Member Liz Galgano Chaplin, who has long provided children’s books for the waiting room children’s library, assisted with wrapping and preparing the gifts for shipping.
On Thursday, December 17, K-9 Police Ministry Dog Julia and Corporal Albright returned to help JUST of DuPage staff in giving Prison Pack gift bags to every inmate at the DuPage County Correctional Facility.
JUST of DuPage (http://www.justofdupage.com), is a nonprofit organization working to meet the needs of inmates in the DuPage County Correctional Facility and their families with a Christian mission to share God’s love to incarcerated men and women. JUST empowers inmates to pursue rehabilitation and make positive life changes by offering a broad range of services, including addition recovery, education, spiritual enrichment and social services.
On Tuesday, December 15, LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Cubby (Redeemer - Fort Collins, Colorado) had a wonderful virtual visit with Sarah. Sarah has been a volunteer during the Boston Marathon for several years, and was in that role in 2013 - the year of the bombing.
She was introduced to LCC and the comfort dogs at that time and has followed them ever since. Sarah shared her experiences with the comfort dogs during 2013, and in the following years. Joni Heiden, Cubby Comfort Dog's handler, said, "I had re-read the chapter, 'The Furry Little Counselors' in the book, If Not for the Perfect Stranger, prior to our visit and asked if Sarah had read the book. She had not, so I shared a bit about the book. She mentioned she gave LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ruthie (LCC Staff) a Red Sox bandana when they were in Boston, and there was a sentence about that in the chapter, which I read to her. She was so excited to hear that. It was definitely a God moment. Sarah had a virtual visit in June with LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Emma and Ruthie (LCC Staff)."
Sarah shared several prayer requests. Cubby's handler was able to pray with her before ending their virtual visit. Sarah was very thankful for the visit and sent the following message: "Oh my goodness, thank you for your time today. That was so wonderful. Please give a hug and kiss to Cubby cause that's what I would've done. Thank you so much Joni. You, LCC handlers are the best of our country."
LCC donors brighten Christmas for four Christ the King, Chicago, Illinois families from their school with Christmas gifts under the tree after a year in which each of these families were impacted by tragedies.
LCC received a thank you note from Pastor Don Love for additional donations received to help support a young widow with two small children.
Merry Christmas to You Tim, and all your staff.
I just wanted to say thank you once again for all your help! They are all deeply appreciated and are a very big blessings in a deeply difficult time. Thank you for all your hard work for the Lord.
Pastor Don Love
Faith, Merrill & St. John Lutheran Church, Hamburg, Wisconsin
The Friday before Christmas, the Put Your Hand Together Food Distribution Ministry of Immanuel, Hillside, Illinois served more LCC ministry partners than ever before.
The following ministry partners received cases of frozen meals and sandwiches; cases of shelf stable food supplies, snacks and blankets that they could give away to families in need this Christmas season:
Don't know what to give someone for Christmas?
Don't want to fight the shoppers at the mall?
Don't want to wrap a present?
Don't know what to give someone who has everything they need?
Consider giving a JESUS GIFT this CHRISTmas by gifting someone a donation in their name that helps someone in need!
A $25 donation to the Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry allows Lutheran Church Charities to provide a Mercy Heart to an individual or family during a time of loss. In times of grief, people look for comfort, hope and reassurance.
Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
A Heart of Mercy & Compassion reminds them that friends and family will walk with them during these difficult times. It also lets them know that LCC and the LCC Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry is with them through presence and prayer.
CLICK HERE to learn more about all of the LCC Christmas Gifting to Make A Difference opportunities.
Help to touch the life of someone who is hurting with our Hearts of Mercy & Compassion
Click HERE to learn more about the Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry or how your church can be involved.