We serve people through a ministry of love, compassion, and mercy in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ

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4th of July Message From the President/CEO

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Greetings!

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate our declaration of independence from colonial tyranny with family gatherings, barbecues, parties, games, food, fun, festivals, parades, musical events, and fireworks. While all of these events are delightful, let us never forget the significance of the Fourth of July, a day in 1776 when courageous members of the Continental Congress—people soon to be “Americans”—published a moral standard by which we continue evaluate our actions and actions:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Members of the Continental Congress set thirteen colonies on the road to becoming a sovereign nation. The road would not an easy one, for there was a war yet to be won and a constitution yet to be written.

To give you some fun facts to talk about during your celebrations I found on the internet some interesting trivia:

Census

  • In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly declared independent nation.
  • 311.7 million–the estimated population on this Fourth of July.

Flags

  • In 2010, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags was $2.8 million, the majority made in China.
  • When Alaska and Hawaii became states, a fifty-star flag had to be designed. High school student Robert Heft produced such a flag as a school project and received a grade of B-. Robert sent his design to Dwight Eisenhower, who chose it over other designs. The grade was changed to A.

Fireworks

  •  $190.7 million–the value of fireworks imported from China in 2010, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($197.3 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $37.0 million in 2010, with Japan purchasing more than any other country ($6.3million). Towns with Patriotic Names
  • Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The most populous one as 2010, is Liberty, MO (29,149). Iowa has four such towns (more than any other state): Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
  • Thirty-five places have “eagle” in their names. The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas (26,248). • Eleven places have “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, MO (116,830).
  • Nine places have “freedom” In their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, PA (4,464).
  • One place has “patriot” in the name, Patriot, IN (209).
  • Five places have “America” In their names. The most populous is American Fork, Utah (26,263).

Fourth of July Cookouts

  •  More than 1 in 4—the chance that the hot dogs and pork sausages you consume on the Fourth of July originated in Iowa.
  • 6.8 billion pounds–the total production of cattle and calves in Texas. Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks, and burgers on your grill will come from the Lone Star State, which accounts for about 1/6 of the nation’s total production. And if the beef did not come from Texas, it likely came from Nebraska or Kansas. The Date
  • The Fourth of July became a holiday only in 1870 and a federal legal holiday in 1941.
  • John Adams thought the celebration would be the Second of July, since that was the actual date of the Declaration’s approval before its subsequent publication.

While these fun facts may pique picnic conversation, let us take a moment or two to think about the reasons we celebrate, to thank and remember those who have sacrificed to safeguard our freedom, to declare again that we are equal in the eyes of God, and to affirm the “unalienable rights” endowed to us by our Creator.

I wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July. Enjoy your celebrations, but also remember the reason we celebrate. Let us remind ourselves that we must cherish and protect our freedom. And let us thank and remember those who have sacrificed to defend our liberty and our rights as human beings—our veterans and service members, of course, but also who, like  James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, made the ultimate sacrifice fifty summers ago.

Best,

Patricia W. Savage President/CEO

Auxiliaries: What They Are and Why You May Want to Join

Each spring, ALSM kicks off its annual Auxiliary Membership Campaign and materials are sent out to our congregations. In fact, if you haven’t yet received your copy of the 2014 Auxiliary Membership brochure, you will be seeing it soon! During the campaign, we invite you to join the auxiliary and help support the mission of ALSM. All gifts raised from the drive go directly to provide charitable care for those with limited resources.

You become a member of the ALSM Auxiliary simply by making a gift; however, we also invite you to give of your time, talents, and treasure by volunteering as an auxiliary member in Blair, Cambria, or Centre County.

If you’re like me, you might be busy with a family or with a full-time job or with involvement in many other activities that you feel as if you don’t have any free time to devote to something else. And when your time is valuable, you want to make sure that whatever free time you have is used for something meaningful.

As an ALSM auxiliary member, you can be as active as your schedule allows! You can join committees, attend meetings, participate in social activities, plan fundraising events, or just participate whenever you can. New members are always welcome. Gifts of any amount are sincerely appreciated.

The ALSM Auxiliary members truly help to make a difference in the lives of those we touch. You serve as a connection between our residents and our community. Membership is open to everyone.

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To give you an idea of the work of the auxiliaries, here are just a few of the many things they do:

•  Staff the ALSM gift shops at The Lutheran Home at Johnstown and The Oaks at Pleasant Gap.

• Organize and help at fundraising events such as the annual fashion show at The Oaks and Summer FunFest in Johnstown.

• Enrich the lives of our residents by reading to them, assisting them with crafts, and spending time visiting with them.

• Enjoy ALSM social events.

• Assist with the annual membership drive.

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One of the most important initiatives of the auxiliary is to raise funds to provide charitable care and purchase items that help provide some “extras” to those served by ALSM. One example is the Centre County Auxiliary, which saw a need for the residents at The Oaks to have more enrichment, so they provided funds to purchase special hand bell chimes that are easier to grasp. The chimes provide a wonderful opportunity for music therapy, and a group of female residents at The Oaks even formed a musical group – The Silver Belles – that practices on a regular basis and performs concerts!

In addition to the chimes, our auxiliaries have provided funds for patio furniture for our affordable housing communities, new lift chairs for our Senior Daily Living Centers, and metal benches for our Hillcrest residents.

I personally invite you to consider joining the ALSM Auxiliary. You can be as active as you like, whether it’s simply receiving our InTouch newsletter and keeping abreast of what’s happening, or taking a leadership role on one of our committees or programs. As a member, you’ll be invited to attend a number of ALSM’s programs and special events. As a member, you’ll gain the personal fulfillment that comes from helping the elderly or the less fortunate, and you’ll also help ALSM fulfill the mission that each of us who works here takes pride in – to serve people through a ministry of love, compassion, and mercy in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

For further questions about joining the auxiliary or to learn more about how you may help, please phone the advancement office at 814.696.4560 or email development@alsm.org. Thank you for your support!

Using Talents To Give Back

As ALSM team members we are very grateful for the wonderful opportunities we have to get to know the residents who reside in our communities. That is an aspect of most team members days that they will tell you brings them the most joy. Getting to know the people that we serve, the lives that ALSM touches. We recently had the opportunity to spend time with a few ALSM residents who enjoy filling their days with handmade gifts of love that they donate to make others lives better.

Caring for the Youngest and Most in Need

Mrs. Lucille Lilly is an 88 year-old resident of the Hillcrest apartments on the Hickory Commons campus. She welcomed us to spend time with her as she was knitting beautiful baby blankets. We are glad we visited with her that morning because the finished blankets were picked up later that day, destined to be given to local newborns in need. Mrs. Lilly donates blankets each year to Birthright and Catholic Charities.

We also learned that knitting is not her only passion: Lucille is a licensed amateur radio operator. She and her husband were very active and enjoyed communication “over the horizon” via short wave radio. What an interesting lady!

As we visited, Lucille shared why she makes and donates her quilts. “You don’t always just do for yourself. I like to help other people. We need to broaden our horizons and give of ourselves.” Lucille certainly reaches out and touches the lives of many little ones.

Lucille Sitting Smile Lucille HandsLucille Quilt Wide

Prayer Quilts Sewn and Given With Love

Marilyn Shaw and Mary Hardy have happily set themselves up in one of a quilting room at The Oaks at Pleasant Gap. There they assemble prayer quilts. Marilyn was a member of a prayer quilting club in San Francisco. When she moved to her new home in The Oaks (her 52nd move!), she brought with her a template for constructing the quilts, materials for making them, and a poem that she had written to express how much they mean to her. The ladies construct each quilt and attach strings to the quilt. They then ask other residents, team members, and guests at The Oaks to say a prayer and tie a knot in the strings on the quilt.

The ladies construct each quilt and attach strings to the quilt. They then ask other residents, team members, and guests at The Oaks to say a prayer and tie a knot in the strings on the quilt.

The day we visited the quilt room, they were finishing a prayer quilt for a fellow resident at The Oaks, one whose health was failing. When they presented him with his quilt, it came with prayers that had been offered for him from residents and team members of The Oaks. Even a few of us visitors were able to be a part of this special ministry. What a wonderful, comforting gift, full of love, this gentleman received! He has not been their only recipient. The ladies have donated quilts and prayers for both the older adults and children in the ALSM Generations Together program in Altoona. The participants were thrilled to receive these gifts and were happy to take such a treasure home with them.

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The quilts not only brighten someone’s day but they brighten their soul.

Donations from the Heart

“To serve people through a ministry of love, compassion and mercy in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM) and our team members give generously to support our communities. In 2013, our team’s support and donations totaled more than $13,000 with 850 hours of volunteer time.

You may ask, “What are some of the efforts in which ALSM is involved? Why would ALSM participate in community programs when ALSM is already a set of community programs and already seeks charitable care funds to carry out its own mission?”

ALSM is involved in charitable efforts because we are part of the communities in which we are located. We believe it is important to “love and serve our neighbors” and be responsible citizens. We also believe that participating in these opportunities makes our communities better places –places that respond to the needs of people. Our mission is to serve people.

Some examples of programs in which ALSM Is involved include:

The American Cancer Society & Joyce Murtha Breast Cancer Care Center

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Our team members have given generously of their time and money toward cancer centers, Relay for Life, the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk, and the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer awareness program. Team members have joined these efforts to show support for their fellow team members who have faced a cancer or friends and family who have fought or are fighting the battle against cancer.  Over $5,000 was raised to support these programs.

The American Heart Association

ALSM sees firsthand the results of heart disease as residents are rehabilitating from a stroke or cardiac episode. We believe in supporting efforts to raise awareness and research dollars to aid in reducing heart-associated illnesses and death. Some of the initiatives sponsored by the American Heart Association that ALSM has sponsored include Derby Days and Heart Smart Day.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s, State College and Johnstown

Alzheimer's Walk Sept 14 2013 4

One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. It is the 6th leading cause of death. ALSM serves older adults in our senior communities, home care, and day programs. Every day our team members care for individuals with forms of dementia. We know how devastating the disease is and have organized fundraisers to help increase awareness of this dreaded disease.

St. Jude Children’s Hospital Trike-a-Thon

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Children have the biggest hearts. It warms our hearts to see little ones from the Growing Years Early Learning Center strap on their helmets and climb on their trikes to raise money for sick children. What a wonderful lesson that fun activity is teaching them. Last year our children raised and donated $500.00 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Helping Those Less Fortunate

In an economy where employment is often hard to find, where people have lost jobs or faced a reduction in hours, ALSM team members show our appreciation and gratitude for the gifts that we have by helping families, children, and animals in need. Every ALSM program participates in food drives. We also support a program where warm winter clothing is provided to children in need. Funds were raised and walkers participated in the Crop Walk in our area. The money raised was donated to local food banks. Donations were collected to aid the Mending Hearts Animal Rescue in caring for homeless animals.

Honoring Those Who Serve

Participants at ALSM’s Generations Together Program in Altoona (children from Growing Years Early Learning Center, participants of the Senior Daily Living Center, and The Lutheran Home at Hollidaysburg and team members of these locations) wrote Christmas cards and letters to American soldiers. Donated items for care packages were sent as well. The letters from veterans who are our residents to current military personnel thanking them and relating to their experiences was a wonderful way for veterans to share a part of their personal story.

We live, love, and give back to the communities where we serve. We invite you to consider donating your time and talent, either in your community or by serving with us at one of ALSM’s programs. And remember, we are all called to love and serve our neighbors. Please visit the “Donate Now” section of our website to learn more or call the Advancement Office at 814.696.4560.