The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Deck the halls, stock the shelves

In Las Vegas, Lutherans help those hard-hit by the recession

Allenia Serrano is a goal-setter. She's already achieved one goal: paying all her bills on time, with money left over for savings. Next year the single mom plans to take her two children to Disney World. They've never been on an airplane. Her ultimate goal is to see her kids go to college.

Last year when Serrano moved to Las Vegas from Cleveland, such goals seemed far off. "When I came to Las Vegas I pretty much didn't have anything," she said.

They stayed in hotels and missions until someone gave Serrano a brochure for Family Promise, a transition program for homeless families supported by local faith groups, including ELCA congregations.

After graduating from Family Promise, she enrolled in Lutheran Social Services of Nevada's Supportive Housing Program. Last year the program provided apartments for eight families with children, ultimately moving them into permanent housing. This year the program has 13 apartment units and a total of 30 beds.

"Every time I get to think ... I think about how I've come up," said Serrano, who now works full time at a security job.

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February issue


Embracing diversity