Jerry and Lynda Engelhardt
For Jerry and Lynda Engelhardt becoming involved with the new men's shelter at Central City Lutheran Mission was a natural next step in their marriage of 49 years. Jerry and Lynda met at an Indianapolis as part of their church ministry helping inmates with job interview skills before being released. Jerry worked in the oil industry and Lynda was a nurse. Though Jerry's careers has taken them all over the world, their passion for helping others has remained constant. When the couple settled in Anaheim in 1976 their home church had a branch office of Lutheran Social Services of Southern California, which currently owns and operates Central City Lutheran Mission. What started as small contributions to LSSSC, has turned into a lifetime of helping others.
"How do you help a lot of people? How can you help churches look outward?" These were questions that the Engelhardt's asked themselves. The answer came in 2015 when Jerry and Lynda started the Matthew 25 Fund. The fund is earmarked for outreach and is available to churches and other outreach organizations. Their initial $100,000 gift to start the fund has grown to over $300,000 thanks to other contributions.
One of the recipients of the Matthew 25 Fund was Central City Lutheran Mission. When Jerry and Lynda toured CCLM they were happy to see that the mission wasn't just feeding and housing homeless men, but also investing in their overall self-reliance through their Workforce Development Program. They had other questions about the program. "Do we have a passion for it? Is it sustainable long-term? Is it well run and successful?" Jerry and Lynda had all their questions answered on the tour and at the new men's shelter groundbreaking ceremony. They were particularly happy with the citywide support CCLM received.
Jerry states, "You hear, "that you don't have to give until it hurts, you just have to give until it feels good". The more we give the better we feel. We have been blessed, brought up in Christian homes, received a good education and never have been a day without work. When you're a believer you want to share; your talents, your time, and financially." Jerry and Lynda made a gift for more than half of the monies needed to build the new men's shelter for seventy men.
The Engelhardt's, through their estate, plan to contribute more to the Matthew 25 Fund as well as other ministries, including Lutheran Social Services of Southern California. Because of their generosity to many worthy organization, the establishment of the Matthew 25 Fund, and their contribution to the new men's shelter, LSSSC as chosen to name the new men's shelter the Lynda and Jerry Engelhardt Renewal Center.