Our Partners

Mount Olivet and the Cranberry Ridge Affordable Housing Development

Mount Olivet and the Cranberry Ridge Affordable Housing Development

One integral belief that Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth holds is that God is active not just in church, but in our world. We look and listen for what God is up to through the work of our community partners - organizations such as PRISM, Northport Elementary School, and the Home Free women's shelter. Through these partnerships, we have discerned that God is calling us to be a church that works toward feeding people, housing people, accompanying people in transition, and working with faith partners.

One of our housing partners, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, has asked our congregation to support their work of developing new affordable housing right here in Plymouth through the Cranberry Ridge project

Soda Wada

Mount Olivet is working with our partners,Trinity Lutheran, St. Peders, and Nokomis Heights, along with Dar Al Hijrah Mosque, to sponsor a refugee family's  resettlement here in Minnesota. Mount Olivet member, Lisa Hansen, is one of three mentors from these congregations that will work along side the family through the coming year. We will follow both Lisa's, and this family's experience through her blog - Riverchilde: A Servants Journey - where she will be posting reflections about her ongoing role as a mentor.

Check back, or visit Lisa's blog for continued updates.

Moms On A Mission: Valentines Day

Edits1 Our first mission for Moms on a Mission was a success! We celebrated an early Valentine's Day with the women and children currently at Home Free. We offered Healing Touch sessions (Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry) and spa treatments for the women, while we entertained the children with crafts, games, Valentine making and treats!

We were moved as we shared God's love to these women and their beautiful children. They were so appreciative and we brought so much joy to the children while providing a short break for the moms.

Please continue to pray for all women and children at Home Free. Consider joining us for our next Moms on a Mission meeting, Wednesday March 2nd at 8 pm. We will be discussing our next mission at Home Free in May. We would love to have you join us!

-Michelle and Julie.

Community Partners: Home Free

home free

Making change possible by understanding that domestic violence is not a private matter.

Since 1980, Home Free has been a safe haven for women and children needing to flee their homes due to domestic violence. The Shelter provides emergency housing and support services to over 500 women and children each year. Usually filled to capacity, the Shelter can accommodate 30 women and children with an average length of stay of 18 days. Services are provided free of charge to all residents.

Women's Advocates work with battered women as they identify needs, set goals, and access services. Advocates assist women in obtaining legal remedies, housing, financial resources, medical care, and transportation and accompaniment to appointments as needed. Home Free also offers a number of education and support groups as well as social and recreational opportunities.

I was supported, listened to, and received the resources I needed. Home Free was a big help to me! Home Free cared, helped, and supported me 24/7.

- In Their Own Words, Home FreeWinter 2013 newsletter

The Home Free children's program assists women with children to identify and meet each child's needs. The children's advocates work with children individually and in groups to help them develop age-appropriate knowledge and skills related to domestic violence. Childcare, groups, activities and one-on-one assistance is provided to Shelter children, including weekend groups and activities. Children's Advocates also assist mothers with placement of children in local schools.

Community and church support are vital to the work we do. We just want the community to know we are here, and anyone who needs help can call us. We so appreciate all the support Mount Olivet gives us—it is a great collaboration.

- Kari Hitchcock, Home Free Community Coordinator

How does Mount Olivet support Home Free?

  • Collect cell phones - Home Free recycles them as a fundraiser.
  • Provide Personal Care packages: providing these items to residents means Home Free doesn't need to purchase them. The money saved can be used for special needs, such as cultural food for immigrant women, food for those with allergies, helping pay for a child’s field trip or an apartment application fee.
  • Provide food, have donated clothing and household supplies to setup new homes and help relocate.
  • A portion of Mount Olivet’s annual tithe is allocated to support Home Free.

What else can we do? 

  • Re-do rooms (paint, etc.)
  • Read to the children
  • Provide birthday party supplies
  • Raise awareness of this valuable community resource!

Community Partners: God's Grace and Work in the World

Why Our Giving Matters Earning minimum wage, a person needs to work 98 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, an hourly wage of $17.69 is required to pay rent and utilities for a modest two-bedroom apartment in the Twin Cities metro area. This does not account for food, household/hygiene necessities or clothing.


The Adopt-a-Family program was started in 2001 by Kirsten Kessel, DM in an attempt to serve the working poor in our community as well as families in need through our partner organizations, Parenting With Purpose and Trinity Lutheran Congregation. Over the years, many people have expressed gratitude, explaining that they would have had nothing for Christmas if not for the Adopt-a-Family program. MO adopts over sixty families every year!

How does Adopt-a-Family work? Families are listed on a form that includes names, ages, sizes and wish lists for each member. After chosing a family to adopt, the fun begins! Purchase and wrap at least one gift per person, with a recommended spending range of $50—75 for each person. This can be a great extended family, small group, neighborhood group project—especially for the larger families. Forms will be available November 19. Please return gifts to Mount Olivet by Noon on Wednesday, December 17 to be distributed in time for Christmas.


THANK YOU for the blessings you gave to our family this season. We are so grateful for everything you blessed us with for the holidays! God loves you all!                                                             - With love from Larry & Fallon


Caring Tree

This is a collection of gifts for seniors who live at the St. Olaf Residence/North Oaks Assisted Livingin north Minneapolis. Most of these people will receive nothing else, and have no means to purchase the things they need. If you’d like to make Christmas a bit brighter for an older person, please take a tag from the Caring Tree and purchase a gift for that person (first name provided) from the suggestions listed. Bring the gift IN A GIFT BAG by Sunday, December 14. Many thanks to the Mount Olivet Older but Wiser Lutherans (OWLs) for coordinating the Caring Tree again this year.


Sharing Tree

Last year 1100 children were able to celebrate the holidays with a gift that wouldn’t have been there without our help. The Sharing Tree, a toy collection for PRISM and children staying at Home Free over the holidays, will be decorated with tags by November 23. Each tag on the Sharing Tree lists gender and age range. Purchase an appropriate gift for a child in the age range you selected and place the unwrapped gift ($15-$30) under the Sharing Tree by December 8. PRISM serves hundreds of families through their holiday program, and MO contributes approximately 200 gifts every year.


Christian’s Toy Box

Christian’s Toy Box originated in 1999, the year Christian Olaf Osen, eight-year-old-son of Karen Haug and John Osen, lost his battle with leukemia. They learned through first-hand experience how greatly small gifts can brighten the day of a child receiving chemotherapy or radiation, during extended hospital stays, as well as for siblings of sick children who also spend their days at the hospital. Suggested gifts include craft kits, small Lego kits, things that could be made or played with in bed that help occupy a child’s mind and body when they’re relatively confined.


You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.                    - John Bunyan


Community Partners: PRISM

PRISM (People Responding In Social Ministry) is a social service agency that helps local families during times of financial hardship. For over 43 years, the volunteers and staff at PRISM have worked with individuals and families in Plymouth, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and New Hope; counseling, educating and stabilizing basic needs to empower them to take an active role in their own solutions. The organization known today as PRISM began as a food shelf in a garage at St. Joseph’s Parish Community in New Hope. According to Marty Gates, one of the founders, from the very beginning, filling stomachs was never the ultimate goal. The volunteers at the Social Action Center (as it was then called) were assigned as mentors to families, working with them on an ongoing basis until they were back on their feet. Even before PRISM was PRISM, the organization walked alongside families, offering support-based programs that encouraged self-sufficiency, PRISM’s mission to this day.

The best way to express the Gospel is to put it in action...When someone comes to you needing food, you can either give them the food and they can walk out the door, or you can sit down and listen to them talk about their life.

- Marty Gates

Today there are 19 Faith Partner churches, including Mount Olivet, working with PRISM to serve those in need, making our communities better!

In addition to the food shelf:

  • PRISM has two full-time case workers and brings on social work students as interns to build capacity. It is not uncommon for them to see 200 households per week! Last Monday (9/29) there were 72 families through the door. According to PRISM Executive Director Michelle Ness, the numbers are increasing - PRISM is serving about 30 more families each week than last year at this time.
  • PRISM’s Thrift Shop for Change generates $1500-2000 per week. One of the main priorities currently is to increase shoppers through the door in order to grow the revenue from the shop. In the current economic climate, this is hugely important to PRISM. BOGO coupons are available in the Welcome Center and all are encouraged to like the shop on Facebook!
  • Families who live in PRISM’s five city service area can access the Birthday Room. For $5 they receive three brand new gifts, paper products (gift wrap, bows, streamers, invitations, etc.), and a free, fully-decorated birthday cake. Families report that without this resource, many would not be able to celebrate their child’s birthday at all.



KidPack: Northport Elementary School

KidPack is a partnership between area elementary schools and churches. KidPack helps insure that a child who relies on school breakfast and lunch during the week will not experience hunger over the weekend, and will return to school on Monday ready to learn! Mount Olivet is in the third year of our partnership with NorthKidPack 2014-2port Elementary School in Brooklyn Park, and our supportof KidPack has grown every year. This faith community packs and distributes bags of food every week, filling an important need and being present in our community on a regular basis. We are excited to be part of Northport BEAR country - a community with high expectations for Belonging, being Empathetic, Achieving their highest potential, and showing Respect to all.

Our students look forward to the weekly KidPack they receive, thanks to our partnership with Mount Olivet Church in Plymouth. They come through the line each week with a smile, knowing that they will get a bag filled with food for the weekend and the week ahead. In the process, our students learn about kindness and belonging. They know that there are people outside of school and their family who care about them. KidPack has a profound impact on the students at Northport. Thank you for all you do!                                   - Pam Maile, Program Assistant at Northport