For Some People It’s Personal

For the third consecutive year, Jerry Coffey will walk on October 2, 2021, in our LSS Riverside Walk to Fight Poverty. Others will also participate, but for Jerry it’s a personal commitment; very, very personal.

Pictured to the left, Jerry and Joan Coffey shared many wonderful moments together throughout their 22 years of marriage. They started as co-workers, then casual friends with similar interests, and a common joy for every moment of life. Ultimately, they became husband and wife.

Joan grew up in a Roman Catholic family, and after she and Jerry moved to Riverside in 2002, she looked for a nearby congregation to get involved. She eventually became a member at Trinity Lutheran LCMS Church, Riverside. The parish offered programs that assisted many struggling people who faced challenges. In addition, Joan also belonged to the museum, as well as the Riverside Community Arts Association. Joan was an advocate for ordinary citizens with extraordinary needs. Her annual LSS walks raised lots of money that helped loads of people with their struggles.

But her commitment became more difficult in 2015, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in multiple lymph nodes and her lungs. By her final walk in 2018 the cancer had metastasized to her skin, fluids were in her lungs, and the lymphedema in her body added 50 pounds of extra weight, causing mobility and balance issues. She was so weak Jerry drove her to the starting location and picked her up at the finish.

Through all her pain and chemotherapy, Joan never complained. She remained upbeat and refused to give the impression she was ill. There was never a woe is me, or I can’t do that because I’m sick. She just did it. Her motto was To recovery and Beyond, borrowed from Buzz Lightyear’s “To Infinity and Beyond” in Toy Story.

Jerry often remembers their first meal together. He had just completed the Los Angeles Marathon in March, and though she had never done anything like that, Joan announced that night she would run with Jerry in the Chicago Marathon. She did, that October, in just seven months!

Joan was tough, focused, committed and never gave up – even with cancer. Jerry will be walking in Joan’s memory on October 2, paying forward her commitment to people she never met in person. Her memory and commitment are still helping others. Thanks be to God!

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Ambassadors are short-term volunteers who open doors for our organization in the community, introducing new people at our bi-monthly Fostering Community Care event. These are one hour awareness events only (no solicitations are made) to expose people to the great work of LSS Community Care. To become an Ambassador here are your responsibilities:
  1. 1 – Attend at least one Fostering Community Care event during the calendar year
  2. 2 – Host or invite and bring 10-15 guests to one Fostering Community Care event within 3 months of your attending one yourself.
  3. 3 – Inform your invited guests of what the Fostering Community Care meeting will be about, and let them know that they will receive a follow up call from the organization
  4. 4 – Ambassadors will complete their commitment after bringing 10-15 persons within the 3 month time period. An Ambassador has the option to complete after one term, continue for another 3 month term or move into another role on the team.
Become an Ally

Allies are community members who want to be in a supportive, intentional, befriending relationship with an individual or family working to get out of poverty.

Other ways to help the Southern California Family Support Initiative
  • Be an Ad-Hoc Ally – share your special skill or talent
  • Be a member of your local Community Leadership Team
  • Assist with weekly Child Care/Children’s Programs
  • Be a Community Spokesman – talk about the initiative and recruit others to join
  • Financially Sponsor a Family Leader
  • Facilitate/assist with Training Our Leaders and Allies
  • Behind-the-scenes work – internet research, graphic design, writing
We are actively seeking individuals and groups to be a part of our on-going mission to serve those in need. LSS administers over 50 specialized programs and services throughout the Southern California region. Contact your nearest LSS Center to hear about the local opportunities they have available.
Be a positive role model
Give back to others and help change lives
Transform communities
Spend your time doing something rewarding
Meet new people
Have fun
Learn new skills, share your talents, build your resume

The life you change most – may be your own!