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About Us


Our Mission

Motivated and guided by the compassion of Christ, we serve and care for people in need.

Our Programs

Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida operates five very different community outreach programs that share an important commonality… the ability to help those facing hardships stabilize their lives and earn a fresh start.

Refugee Services

Our History

Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida was incorporated in 1979 by a consortium of Lutheran churches and Jacksonville community leaders. The first initiative operated by the nonprofit was the Nourishment Network – a small food pantry that has fed hundreds of thousands of food-insecure families for more than 40 years.

Just one year after the launch of the Hunger Relief program (formerly known as Nourishment Network), LSSNEFL began resettling refugees admitted to the United States due to dangerous political climates or natural disasters in their own countries. Four decades later, the Refugee Services program team still helps hundreds of refugees each year, from finding them places to live to assisting them with employment. In 2022, LSSNEFL, along with its partners, served over 2,500 refugee clients.

In 1992, LSSNEFL established the AIDS Care and Education (ACE) program to provide case management, mental health services and education for people living with HIV and AIDS.

In 1995, the Representative Payee Services program was implemented after the Social Security Administration and the Florida Department of Children and Families approached LSSNEFL to help with the management of fiscal affairs for low-income people who need help managing their income appropriately to provide for their basic needs. This includes but is not limited to those receiving Social Security and disability benefits as well as VA and Railroad Retirement pensions.

In 2017, LSSNEFL partnered with LISC Jacksonville, United Way of Northeast Florida, Family Foundations and the New Town Success Zone to launch Steps 2 Success, Florida’s first Financial Opportunity Center. S2S provides integrated employment and financial coaching, along with emergency income supports, to help people attain their goals and realize their vision.

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Board of Directors

Kym Hammer (Chair)
| Belk, Vice President of Planning
Colleen Becker (Vice-Chair)
| Tile Market of San Marco, Commercial Sales Manager
Chris Jackson (Treasurer)
| JEA, Director of Customer Revenue
The Rev. Grace Gravelle (Secretary)
| St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Pastor
Board Members
Kim Bass
| Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance, Client Service Executive
Dr. James Dennis
| University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Professor of Surgery & Chief of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy
Kim Dodds
| Bank of America, Vice President 
Wanda McClellan
| Walgreens, District Manager and Community Outreach
The Rev. Patrick McKenzie 
| Hope Lutheran Church, Pastor
Kenneth "Casey" Steel III
| Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A.
Cheryl Lynn Virta 
| NAMI Jacksonville, Operations Manager Advocacy Liaison
Tracy Williams 
| GuideWell Health, Senior Director
Image by Rémi Walle

Our Partners

Our Partners

Corporate Partners

Government Partners

Federal, state and local grants also support the work of the agency by funding programs and services that benefit the community or the public at large.