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August 4, 2013

Red Cross Humanitarian Awards: Jennifer Mills-Knutsen


“Our family would've been lost without Jennifer's spiritual and practical support when we lost Tara. She managed to spend time with us. Counseling was a great resource in coping with the media circus,” Curran said. “Yet she also managed to write a eulogy while herself grieving for a kid she knew and loved.”

Helping to relieve the burden of those in pain comes naturally to Mills-Knutsen. Every Saturday at St. Luke’s, churches from across Southern Indiana come together to provide food for those who might not always have the opportunity to receive a hot meal. Now in its 20th year, the Loaves and Fishes program feeds 75 to 100 attendees each week. 

A full belly can help make life a little easier for some. Still, others have a different type of hunger that bread alone can’t satisfy. Some folks, Mills-Knutsen said, need something further.

“Sometimes that’s more of a spiritual food. Sometimes people need to know that the violence and the destruction of this world won’t have the last word. They need to know that they can be loved and forgiven. And they need to know that they can be healed of whatever it is that ails them,” Mills-Knutsen said. “And that’s the kind of ministry we provide here.”

Unexpected disasters, like the March 2, 2012 tornadoes that devastated Southern Indiana, provide unfortunate opportunities for this type of ministry. Several of St. Luke’s families were affected by the storms. Two in Henryville lost their homes. Others searched for more than just their belongings underneath the debris the twisters left behind. 

Immediately, the congregation and their leader went into action. Numerous helpers gave time behind the scenes at the volunteer staging center that was opened by the United Way at the old Bales’ building. Teams went into the field to clean and rebuild the homes that were destroyed.

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