About Us

More than a half a Million People Cared for in 27 Years

27

About Lutheran Social Services of Nevada

 

35 years ago, a dedicated group of Lutheran church volunteers began serving meals and providing food and clothing to people in need out of some of the local churches. They started food and clothing closets and then began to grow and get organized. They became incorporated on December 20, 1996 and Lutheran Social Services was born. Since then LSSN has grown and served more and more people as it became a trusted grassroots organization known for its diverse services for individuals of many demographics, including: low-income, at-risk of homelessness, homeless, families with or without children, youth, veterans, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. In the last 25 years over a half a million individuals have been cared for by the agency. LSSN’s comprehensive social services include DigiMart, an online food pantry; mobile food distribution events called Open Air Markets; nutrition education classes and live cooking demonstrations; the Heart of the City Senior Meal Program and senior supportive services; mainstream benefits applications; and other safety net services. Our mission is to:

 

Express the Love of Christ by Serving and Caring for People in Need.

Easter 2024 Highlights

We broke the record for children served! Last Easter, together we served 390 children. This year with the help of 32 volunteers, 12 local businesses, 17 non profit partners providing resources, and 33 donors who gave $6381, we were able to serve 457 children from 187 families during the Holy Week!

Thank Faith in Humanity, Ronald Mcdonald Care Mobile, Dr’s Kopolow and Girisgen, HELP of Southern Nevada, Arics Mobile Library, Las Vegas Metro Police, Humana, Liberty Dental, Nevada Homeless Alliance, WIC, Candelen, Boys Town, Hope Link, EmployNV, Clark County, and Children’s Dentistry for providing services.

Thank you to Saint Andrew, Community Lutheran, Good Samaritan, Good Samaritan at the Lakes, New Song, Christ the Servant, Grace Lutheran in Henderson, Holy Spirit Lutheran, Mountain View Lutheran, Gbank, BNI Power Partners, The Happiest Hour, and Las Ventanas for your support.

Thank you to Anthem and Robert Stoffel Family Law for sponsoring the event!

Check out our amazing video compilation below:

New CEO Timothy Bedwell

In July 2023 Armena Mkhitaryan, then CEO of LSSN, asked Tim Bedwell to fill a critical position as the Director of Grants and Funding. Tim had managed grant administrators in the finance section at the North Las Vegas Police Department (NLVPD) from 2005 to 2013. During that time, he oversaw grant compliance and was the primary grant writer responsible for many State, County, and Federal grants, including over $10M in assistance from Federal “More COPS” grants and more than $1M in Clark County “More Cops” grants.

In 2017, Tim retired as a Lieutenant at NLVPD after 22 years as a police officer. He has experience as a Detective, Field Training Officer, firearms instructor, public information officer, field supervisor, special assignment supervisor, and assistant to the Chief. From 2004 to 2014, Tim worked in the Command Staff reporting directly to four successive Chiefs of Police. He was intimately involved in the management of the organization with as many as 825 personnel and an annual budget of more than $100M.

Tim also served as an active-duty U.S. Marine for 20 years. Promoted to Sergeant at age 19, he led Marines in a wide range of duties including as a Marine Detachment Commander (Gunnery Sergeant) at U.S Embassies in Madagascar, Jamaica, and Greece 1986-1991 and as the Operations Chief for an Aviation Logistics Squadron with 630 personnel 1991-1995.

Tim speaks fondly about the four decades he spent in public service. But he didn’t feel his mission was complete in this life. “Six years after retiring I thought I would never have another job helping people at that level. When Armena asked me to join LSSN, I didn’t hesitate.” Tim said. “Just like when the LSSN Board of Directors asked if I would take on the Chief Executive position, I immediately agreed,” he continued.

Tim has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Criminal Justice Organizational Management. He and his wife Michele have six adult children and seven grandchildren. Tim says God blessed him with a wonderful family and two fantastic careers before he turned sixty. Tim said, “At LSSN, in my third career, I can help my fellow Nevadans where help is needed most.”

A Season of Gratitude

 

A Season of Gratitude started at Lutheran Social Services of Nevada in late 2023 with 85 LSSN clients, volunteers, staff,  community partners and friends share testimonials of gratitude. Check out a few gratitude nuggets below and a video compilation at the bottom. Thank you so much for giving, donating, advocating, partnering, and getting more involved with LSSN!

 

  • Jessie: LSS is amazing and I’m proud my teen decided to spend vacation volunteering with you all. She took away so much from the experience and said the moments when they saw the kids faces light up and the parents relief, made them feel so confident in the task at hand. Thank you for being such a blessing to our community and to all the amazing volunteers; Merry Christmas!
  • Kristen: I just want to cry right now… you have no idea [after receiving a gaming desktop and monitor for her 16 year old son for Angel Tree]… this will help him make something of himself.
  • Daniella: My name is Daniella and my kids were blessed with gifts through the Angel Tree Christmas program this year and I wanted to send a huge thank you for the blessing. It’s been a very rough few months since we moved here in August and seeing the smiles on my kids face gave me so much joy.
  • Tiger (Community Partner from HERO School): What I am grateful for is that Lutheran Social Services has been on the front lines of getting struggling people over their hurdles since we first worked together in 1995 – and they continue to go beyond the call.
  • Jill (Holy Spirit Lutheran Church): Having the ability to assist others who have food insecurities by doing the Open Air Market.
  • Michelle: My children and I are very grateful and thankful for Lutheran social services of Nevada 🙏 for helping us to have a home and no longer being homeless. You have helped when others shut the door. You have given us support and continue to care when no one else would. We are beyond blessed to have found you in a time of great need. It’s been a dark storm and you have been our umbrella. Being a single mother and victim of crime we had no family or support & you provided shelter and stability and we pray for you daily and are forever grateful God put you in our path. When I am able to give back to others you’re the first place I will go. Thank you and all that support you. Sincerely Michelle and kids 🙏
  • Jocelyn: I am very grateful for Lutheran social services for keeping a roof over my families and my heads. We are able to have stability and a safe home. We were homeless 6 months ago and by the grace of God they helped us. I am thankful for your help through this time God bless you all.
  • Jack: Being a single parent I received help from lutheran social.services.Me & my special needs child are so grateful for all the groceries that you provide us monthly..We are so deeply humble &appreciate all the help.Thank you &God bless
  • Immer (volunteer): I am grateful to volunteer every Wednesday because LSSN is close to where I live and it gives me a chance to give back!
  • John: It’s great to have a place to go to in a time of need.
  • Robin (volunteer): once every couple of weeks there is a lady that really we are able to help and she gives me a really great hug. I love it here.
  • Tony: I’m grateful to be alive, I have a healthy body, and the Lutheran group is here in my time of need. I was able to get food without a lot of effort and I appreciate that so much.
  • Nelly (volunteer): I have been volunteering for 5 years and I brought one my good friends here… and we have the opportunity to put together food bags, homeless bags, hygiene bags to help people in the community. I am grateful for the people here who are so cheerful and helpful.
  • Kathy (Community Lutheran Church): We are so thankful for those that donate yarn in our knitting and crochet ministry so we can make hats, scarves, hospice blankets, baby items, and we love to do it and it keeps our time in God’s hands. Thanks for distributing those items to those who need it.
  • Sheril I moved here to take care of my 85 year old mother… otherwise we wouldn’t have enough food and enough to drink. What you give me.. I am blessed that it is her dietary needs and I am very grateful for that.

LSSN Video Highlights 2023

1985

It all started in 1985 when a small team of Lutherans from local churches here in Las Vegas began collecting food and giving it to those who needed it most. They started a small pantry and clothing closet to help people out during the holidays.

1996

The food pantry and clothing drive gained momentum until this group of Lutherans decided to become official. They registered with the state of Nevada and on December 20, 1996 Lutheran Social Services of Nevada was born.

2008

LSSN, under the leadership of the new CEO Armena Mkhitaryan, moved to a larger facility in order to open an innovative new food pantry featuring a grocery style layout offering greater choices for people who needed help.

2012

Pioneered the Open Air Mobile Market to provide fresh produce and other food in ‘food deserts’ around Southern Nevada.

2013

Introduced a Nutrition Education Kitchen to provide clients with healthy cooking demonstrations.

2014

Established the Heart of the City Senior Meal Program, which was the first congregate senior meal program funded from the State of Nevada Aging and Disability Division in the last 12 years.

2016

Awarded the Partner Agency of the Year by Three Square Food Bank out of their 1,300 partners. Launched the first online digital food pantry system – DigiMart. Received the Las Vegas High Tech Exec Award for that system.

2017-2018

Partnered with Nevada Hand and the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada to build the Boulder Collaborative Campus, a “one-stop-shop” social services center.

2019

Named Nevada Women’s Philanthropy’s 2019 Impact Grant Recipient, enabling LSSN to expand our current DigiMart Food Pantry.

2020-2021

Increased services by 300% during the pandemic while simultaneously expanding programs.

2021

Celebrated our 25th Anniversary on December 24, 2021 having served nearly a half a million people.

 

2022-current

Lutheran Social Services of Nevada serves 3500 people per month at three locations with grocery assistance, employment services, housing, ID recovery, senior services, and other programs for the most vulnerable among us. 

People served last year.

Pounds of food distributed last year.

Families housed last year.

LSSN News and Blog

I’ve got Three Words for You

I’ve got Three Words for You

When I (Martin from LSSN) was about 15 my parents informed that henceforth, my brothers and I would have to purchase our own clothing. At the time during the summer I was a little league baseball umpire and earned $20 per game. I always had money and nice clothes at...

Volunteerism Reigns

Volunteerism Reigns

Over the last few months, we have had focus groups with several constituent groups with the purpose of listening and getting crucial feedback on our agency. We met with clients, volunteers, donors, and church partners. If you have something that you think that we...

The Meaningful Interaction Machine

The Meaningful Interaction Machine

According to a survey done by NBC, 50% of Americans go an entire day without a single meaningful conversation or interaction with another person. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Approximately one-quarter (24 percent) of community-dwelling Americans...

Fighting Food Insecurity

Fighting Food Insecurity

A lot of people in Southern Nevada are struggling with food insecurity. Due to increases in food and rent costs, they are having to make serious considerations such as whether to purchase food or to pay the rent or buying life-preserving medications. Jesus Martinez,...

Employment Navigation

Employment Navigation

We are so excited to be a part of the employment journey for so many; our Employment Navigators just helped a young man from Venezuela get a great IT job! We also recently had our first hiring event with Amazon and 13 job seekers came to this instant hiring event. It...

Christmas Kids

Christmas Kids

Merry Christmas! Wishing you peace and joy and a blessed time together with your friends and family this season! We are very excited to report that we have shattered our old record for our Angel Tree Christmas drive. Last year we served 241 children from 101 families...

Navigating Employment

Navigating Employment

Las Vegas is a city in which it is very easy to find a low paying job but quite a challenge to find a job that can sustain a family. The definition of a sustainable income has changed dramatically because of inflation over the last 16 months. Many that were previously...

Mrs. Costa’s Story

Mrs. Costa’s Story

Mrs. Costa has been coming to our food pantry for many years. She is a senior and is a grandmother of 5 beautiful grandchildren. During her recent appointment for grocery assistance she thanked everyone at LSSN. At her previous appointment, she was able to get Easter...

Executive Team

Tim Bedwell

Tim Bedwell

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Cherry Richardson

Cherry Richardson

CHIEF PROGRAMS OFFICER

Linda Downing

Linda Downing

CHIEF FUNDING OFFICER

Directors

Jesus Martinez

Jesus Martinez

DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

Martin Malmberg

Martin Malmberg

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Executive Board

Chad Kaercher

Chad Kaercher

BOARD PRESIDENT

Kelly Peterson

Kelly Peterson

VICE PRESIDENT

Shawn Davis

Shawn Davis

SECRETARY

Adam Kent

Adam Kent

TREASURER

Board of Directors

Charles Paelinck

Charles Paelinck

Steve Orrico

Steve Orrico

Robert Newman

Robert Newman

Jodi Friedman

Jodi Friedman

Michele Bedwell

Michele Bedwell

Pastor Don Lorfin

Pastor Don Lorfin

Financial Records

Our Audited Financial Statements from our 2022 to 2023 fiscal year are here. We have a Guidestar  gold star for transparency which you can see on our non-profit profile here. You can see a copy of our W-9 here. Previous 990s are below. LSSN’s tax identification number is 86-0845241.

2022    2021    2020     2019