Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio was founded in 1911 by a group of pastors in Fremont, Ohio, and was first known as Lutheran Inner-Mission Society. In 1946, the name was changed to The Lutheran Welfare Service of Northwestern Ohio. The current name, which more accurately reflects the agency’s services, was adopted at the annual meeting in 1967, as the agency was becoming a more complete child and family service agency addressing personal and social problems of all types.
Ministry started with chaplaincy service and moved on to hard services such as the distribution of eyeglasses and clothing and then to settlement houses. Today the agency has an excellent reputation for providing mental health and social services. Clients are served from five offices located throughout 24 counties in Northwestern Ohio and two in Southeastern Michigan.
LSS is a 501©(3) organization that regularly receives accreditation by the nationally recognized Council on Accreditation as well as licensures by the Ohio Department of Mental Health, Ohio Department of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
In 2009, LSS began an expansion of their administrative offices at Collingwood and Bancroft in Toledo with the express purpose of making the space more handicapped accessible, including an elevator to access the basement. The plan, implemented April 19, 2010, was to move the Toledo pantry to the newly accessible space in the basement and make it a pantry of choice. In late 2017, LSS acquired the Feed Your Neighbor Program in the Toledo Area. The Feed Your Neighbor Program was previously operated by Toledo Area Ministries.
LSS operates a Financial Stability Program with professional Financial Counselors who can help individuals take the necessary steps to achieve financial freedom and responsibility. In the most recent program expansion, LSS in 2018 is the Lead Agency for the Shared Success Employer Resource Network which is a collaboration between LSS and six companies in Northwestern Ohio.
The agency’s stated mission is: “In response to God’s love for all persons, Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio provides human services that will strengthen the mental, moral, physical, social and spiritual well-being of those who seek this agency’s services.”