Breakfast with Santa

Santa made a visit to the College Hill neighborhood on Saturday, December 5, thanks in large part to many generous partners that continue to make our work in the neighborhood possible!

Gifts for every child in attendance were donated by employees and friends from the International Center of the LCMS (from every corner of the building, and from every synodical entity in the building!) and from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). The children were obviously overwhelmed with the tables overflowing with gifts for every age. One important goal this year: a toy to every child in attendance. We accomplished that and then some!  The remaining toys and games were given to the Queen of Peace House in College Hill.  Queen of Peace is a shelter for mothers recovering from drug addiction and their children.

BFastBob6A broad array of some 60 volunteers joined the staff from LCMS National Housing Support Corporation (Lutheran Housing Support) and Board members of the College Hill Foundation to make this event a success. From preparing batter to grilling pancakes or otherwise preparing and serving the food; from helping with preparing customized Christmas cards, to face painting, to crafting, to tending the bounce house; from organizing tables of gifts to distributing them … these volunteers were fabulous! Thanks especially to Santa and Mrs. Claus (Kevin Kundert and Jane Taszarek respectively) and Bob Wanzel (photographer), not to mention Anthony (facilities management at the school), without whom the event could not have happened.

A host of volunteers, too many to list by name represented numerous congregations and groups, including:

  • Sent to Serve Committee
  • Campaign for College Hill (the College Hill neighborhood association)
  • Bryan Hill School (thanks, especially, to Ms. Hunter, the Community Outreach Coordinator)
  • St. Paul LC, College Hill (thanks, Vicar Kirschenmann)
  • St. John LC, Ellisville
  • St. Paul LC, DePeres
  • Timothy LC, St. Louis (thanks, especially, to Noah)
  • Pastor David Vaughn and a group from Christ Memorial LC, South County
  • International Center Staff (thanks, especially, to Mary Hamilton and her “crew”)
  • Fresno’s Diner
  • Grace Hill Settlement House
  • Women on Mission
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Captain Ryan Cousins enjoys breakfast with a couple of young friends

A special shout-out to Captain Ryan Cousins and several officers from the 6th District of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department! One major goal of these and other events in the neighborhood is to strengthen positive relationships and communication between residents and the police officers who serve them.  The 6th District officers spent time talking with the children, visiting with parents, and helping distribute the gifts, including Sergeant Jesse Harris and Officers Moore, Shaw, Simpson, Armstead, Ford, Chapie and Wilson (who was a hit with the bomb unit robot).

Lutheran Housing Support (LHS) continues to expand its work in the College Hill neighborhood through a multi-faceted effort. Our goal is to transform the neighborhood back into a thriving and vibrant neighborhood by not only constructing new housing units (Nazareth Development), but also improving the homes of existing residents (Elderly Home/Owner-Occupied Repair Program) and deploying a myriad of crime reduction strategies in collaboration with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Our strategy continues to rely on building relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, not only residents in the community, but individuals from other areas of the City and County of St. Louis. At present, LHS is managing nearly $500,000 in grants from government agencies and private foundations, and has applications outstanding for another $400,000 for work in College Hill. These funds not only help implement the current Neighborhood Ownership Model and other safety enhancements, but also the Elderly Home Repair Program, and the Nazareth Homes Development.

Lutheran Housing Support (LHS) is a non-religious 501(c)3 organization that partners with neighborhood revitalization groups across the country to rebuild and restore deteriorating communities. LHS has demonstrated a long-term commitment and support to its neighbors in College Hill since 2007. The organization has consistently provided leadership and financial resources to the area and has engaged more than fifty partners and the area’s residents to transform the neighborhood to a once again vibrant, safe and market desirable community. While LHS provides direct services in North St. Louis, in the College Hill neighborhood, its broader mission includes assisting faith-based organizations and their community partners in their desire to restore neighborhoods within a context of broad community collaboration.

For more information contact: John Albers by email at nationalhousingsupport@lcms.org or by phone at (314) 996-1317 and Anna Paul by phone at (314) 324-3635.  This activity is financed in part or wholly through an allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration.