Half a Million People Cared for in 25 Years
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
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.
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.
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.
Pioneered the Open Air Mobile Market to provide fresh produce and other food in ‘food deserts’ around Southern Nevada.
Introduced a Nutrition Education Kitchen to provide clients with healthy cooking demonstrations.
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.
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.
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.
Named Nevada Women’s Philanthropy’s 2019 Impact Grant Recipient, enabling LSSN to expand our current DigiMart Food Pantry.
Increased services by 300% during the pandemic while simultaneously expanding programs.
Celebrated our 25th Anniversary on December 24, 2021 having served nearly a half a million people.
Lutheran Social Services of Nevada serves 3500 people per month 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
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,...
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CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Armena Mkhitaryan has held the position of Executive Director of Lutheran Social Services of Nevada since August 2008. She has over 25 years of nonprofit management experience. Ms. Mkhitaryan is a graduate of Yerevan State University in her country of origin, Armenia. She received her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Delaware
in 2000 and has extensive nonprofit management experience. Ms. Mkhitaryan is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English. She is the author of two children’s books and numerous articles, poems and novels, and a translator of four books. Armena is a compassionate, visionary, strategic and action-oriented leader.
CHIEF PROGRAMS OFFICER
Cherry began her career at Lutheran Social Services of Nevada as an intern 9 years ago. Soon after, she was hired as a Case Coordinator for the Supportive Housing Program to prevent and alleviate homelessness in our community. In her new position as Chief Programs Director, Cherry not only oversees our
Empowerment Services Programs such as Rental Assistance, Supportive Housing, and Identification Recovery Services, but she also oversees our Nutrition and Senior Supportive Services. Cherry holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Lisa has always had a passion for helping others in need, and in 2011 when she transitioned her career to the nonprofit sector, she knew she had found her calling. She spent the next nine years working in disability services, which is a service area still very dear to her heart. During this period, she also spent countless hours
volunteering as a judge for Golden Desert Speech and Debate Association. She found being a driving force in lives of high school students, giving them the opportunity to compete, extremely rewarding. For her dedication, she was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for the 2016-2017 competitive season. When presented the opportunity to join the team at LSSN in February 2020, she enthusiastically joined the agency’s mission “To express the love of Christ by serving and caring for people in need.” Lisa is a graduate of Columbia College with a double major in Accounting and Business Administration. In her time off she enjoys spending time with her family and beloved Labrador retrievers.
Board of Directors
Pastor Don Lorfin
Our Audited Financial Statements from our 2022 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 Audited Financial Statements are below. LSSN’s tax identification number is 86-0845241.