For over a century, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana (LSSI) has been reaching out to the community, meeting needs with Christ's love. Our roots in the community run deep, dating back to 1901, when nearly every week Pastor Philip Wambsganss provided homes for infants left on the steps of Emmaus Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.
When he held those abandoned infants in front of his congregation and asked, "Who will take this child home?” he had no intention of founding a social-service agency. He was just fulfilling the commandments to "love the Lord your God with all your heart ... and love your neighbor as yourself." And yet, with this simple start, LSSI was born. Under the title of Lutheran Children's Friend Society of Indiana and Ohio, Pastor Wambsganss began placing children with families in the Lutheran community. In 1951, the organization merged with the Lutheran Social Service League, a vibrant and active organization created to meet the financial needs of Lutheran families, to create Lutheran Social Services of Indiana.
Today, with the support of volunteers, donors, and a dedicated staff, LSSI still helps individuals, children, and families meet the special needs and challenges in their lives. We continue to provide adoption services, but we also reach out to families through pregnancy services, teen education and advocacy, child care, disability outreach, and more.
Our reach has grown as well. We now provide services to many Allen County member congregations, as well as the wider community, in northern Indiana. With a budget of more than $3.2 million and more than 60 full- and part-time staff, LSSI is the largest private provider of emergency assistance in Allen County. In 1978, LSSI became the first Allen County social-service agency to be accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Families (COA), an accreditation we maintain today.
And while our programs and services have changed in response to our neighbors' needs, our expression of Christ's love to a hurting community remains steadfast, just as Pastor Wambsganss' did over a century ago. Without regard to income or ability, we continue to care for and serve people through the love of Jesus Christ.
Lutheran Social Services of Indiana expresses the love of Jesus Christ for all people through services that empower individuals and families to move toward social, emotional, and spiritual wholeness.