Inspired by the vision of Pastor William Berg and the philanthropy of Russell Lund, Sr. of Lund's Foods, Community Emergency Service (CES) was organized in 1971 as an outreach ministry of Augustana Lutheran Church of Minneapolis
Mr. Russell Lund, a prominent Minneapolis businessman, civic leader and churchman, saw a need for a more hands-on kind of social service ministry. He asked Pastor Berg at Augustana Lutheran Church this question: "For many years, I have been giving to organizations engaged in social service. Is there a way to give financial aid with a personal touch and to deal with people on a one-to-one basis? "
Pastor Bill Berg responded that they wanted to reach out more effectively to the community, "You are surely sent from our Lord. A give-away program without the personal touch can be demeaning. The gift without the giver is bare."
Russell Lund gave a gift of $5,600 and Community Emergency Service was started.
A Legacy Continues:
On that memorable day, Community Emergency Service was inaugurated. In the three-month summer experiment, 300 persons received—not only food and financial help—but also counseling and referral service in 750 sessions conducted by a three-member staff.
Russell Lund's original gift of $5,600 in 1971 grew into a total contribution of a half-million dollars over a twelve year period. He often expressed the hope that his gifts would serve as seed-money, inspiring others to give. When his health failed and he was no longer able to take part, his hope was fulfilled as many rose up to meet the need.
Staff in the Early Years
The competence and commitment of the staff played an important part in the launching of this program. John Bohnsack, the first director in 1971, was a senior at Luther-Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul. He and his wife Barbara were serving on the Augustana Staff. In 1971, Kay Jurgenson, an English and Drama teacher in the Richfield High School and Patricia Ellefson, former Vista worker and nurse, also served on the original CES Staff.
The Augustana Church Council provided solid support for the CES Ministry, in terms of facilities, staff and volunteer support as a social ministry under the cross—motivated by our Savior's self-giving, healing and restoring love. Hopefully, His presence will always be felt at CES as His words are remembered, ". . . as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."
With that foundation at its beginning, CES staff and volunteers have treated each person who steps through their doors as an individual with whom they want to build a relationship of mutual trust.
New Name & FEIN
As of October 2012, CES has its own 501(c)(3) status as Community Emergency Service, Inc. which was previously under Augustana Lutheran Church(ALC) and continues to have an ongoing active relationship with ALC. Community Emergency Service, Inc. was reorganized under the 501(c)(3) of CES of Minneapolis, which was created by CES in 1997 to help meet our emergency assistance goals by allowing us to receive funds from organizations that could not give to religious organizations. During the reorganizing of our new Articles of Incorporation, the name change to Community Emergency Service, Inc. was adopted. With its new status, CES' fiscal year changed from January 1 through December 31 to April 1 through March 31.