An organization devoted to helping Iowa children and their families is celebrating a major milestone, its sesquicentennial. Lutheran Services in Iowa was founded 150 years ago this month. Penny Ploog, site manager for the agency’s Scott County office in Davenport, says from very humble beginnings, they’re now one of Iowa’s largest human services organizations.
“A little over 150 years ago in Andrew, Iowa, a pastor came upon seven youth that needed a home,” Ploog says. “He started an orphanage there and from that point on, we’ve expanded through the needs throughout the state.” The Davenport office has a staff of 47 and serves about 11-hundred children.
Ploog says, “Over 50% of our staff devote their time to working with prenatal moms and even fathers with children under the age of five, educating the parents, and we also offer them GED classes if they haven’t gotten their diploma.” Founded in 1864 in eastern Iowa, the agency now employs more than 1,200 people across the state and Ploog says they’re always looking for more volunteers.