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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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• A nurse who received national publicity in December for selling flu shots at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, said she was raising money for an American Heart Association challenge at her daughter's school. At presstime, Michelle Torgerson, 33, was under criminal investigation for holding an unauthorized clinic at the college, but no charges had been filed. She is employed by Maxim Healthcare Services, where she says she was told to dispose of leftover vaccine. Instead, she used it at the college, asking customers to make checks out to the heart association. Her daughter's school awarded stuffed animals to students who raised the most money for the association. Torgerson was arrested at a relative's home in Belgrade, Minn., Dec. 11, and the vaccine was confiscated. Augsburg students were relieved the vaccine was legitimate and security measures were changed at Augsburg, according to the Twin Cities' Star Tribune.

Faith in the City, a coalition of seven Twin Cities Lutheran organizations, received two grants totaling $1.4 million for a program to help low-income workers in the Phillips Neighborhood of Minneapolis. Half the funding comes from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and half from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Faith in the City will establish "Phillips Saves," a program for Individual Development Accounts. These are matched savings accounts for low-to-moderate income families that enable them to purchase a first home or post-secondary education or finance a business. For every dollar participants save, $2 will be matched when they reach their individual savings goal.

• The Davey and Goliath Camp Creation Bible school's mission well project raised more than $225,000 for safe drinking water in southern Bangladesh. Kids decorated their own cardboard mission well and filled it with their offerings. The 2005 Davey and Goliath VBS program will help provide the Mahafle people of Madagascar with food, drinking water and basic health care, reports publisher Augsburg Fortress, which works with the ELCA Division for Global Mission to facilitate the projects.

• Students at Ascension Lutheran Church's November "Lock-out for the Homeless" in Towson, Md., were well aware they had it easier than the homeless. Lucas Lees, a seventh-grader, told the local newspaper: "We had it 10 times better than the homeless because there was lots of food and hot cocoa and at 4:30 a.m. we got to go in when it was 29 degrees." Forty-one youth slept in cardboard boxes to bring awareness to the 5,000 homeless in Baltimore and to collect donations: 65 coats, 50 blankets, hats, gloves and scarves and money.

• The 60 members of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Ames, Iowa, raised $10,000 for member Kyra Harbacheck, 8, who has cerebral palsy. Kyra is involved in an experimental therapy that isn't covered by insurance. The congregation's fund raising — local musicians, a silent auction, bake sale and tea room, pony rides, kids' carnival and pork-sandwich dinner — will pay for a year of therapy, which she receives in Chicago and Montreal. Locally, businesses and Iowa State University fraternities and sororities also contributed.


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