calendar May 29, 2019 in Advocacy, Faith in action

Julia Menzo Honored for Service to Disaster Survivors

“Because of your dream of feeding, clothing and serving people whose lives have been changed by natural disaster, many who found themselves living in and on the edge of poverty now have a brighter outlook.”

Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Bishop Patricia A. Davenport so paid tribute May 20 to Julia Menzo, the Director for Community Outreach for Liberty Lutheran/Lutheran Congregational Services.  Menzo was chosen to be this year’s synod recipient of the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) Award for exemplary service.

“You are truly a servant leader, working with gloves and buckets to clean up after floods, working with congregations…giving attention to the smallest details. Julia, you are a perfect fit for this award,” Bishop Davenport said. “So today we celebrate your love for Jesus Christ and His command to love one another by your generous, sacrificial and loving ministry of sharing and multiplying your efforts to provide necessary resources and bless those who are in need.”

In accepting the award, Menzo said in part, “While disasters don’t discriminate…I’ve come to understand that long-term damage those disasters cause is amplified for those disenfranchised by poverty, legal status, discriminatory policies, mental illness and other vulnerabilities.” She said the luxury of rental and flood insurance and saved funds for the purpose of evacuating from danger are sometimes not options when peoples’ lives are “ruled by the urgency of the present moment.”

Bishop Davenport honors LAMPa Awrd recipient Julia Menzo (left).

Bishop Davenport honors LAMPa Awrd recipient Julia Menzo (left).

“I’ve long worked ‘in my lane’ with disaster partners to help address those gaps by working with congregations to provide a safety net for the marginalized,” Menzo said. “but recently I’ve felt called to change my lane and meet with decision-makers to change policies so that vulnerable people do not consistently get left behind, especially in regard to disaster work related to people displaced by Hurricane Maria (in Puerto Rico).”

The award was conferred during the annual LAMPa Lutheran Day in the Capital held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Camp Hill, PA. Nearly 200 attendees used the occasion to discuss approaches to alleviating hunger and encouraging food sustainability strategies. In the afternoon many registrants visited their representatives in Harrisburg to advocate that issues of hunger be sufficiently addressed in this year’s Pennsylvania budget.

Menzo, among her many duties, helped to resettle Puerto Rico evacuees displaced by Hurricane Maria, working with agencies in places like the Lehigh Valley. She is regional coordinator for Lutheran Disaster Response, but wears “many hats” in her outreach work. She is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, PA, where she lives, and serves on the congregation’s Safety and Security Team. She’s also served on Lansdale Borough’s Planning Commission. She is the mother of a son and daughter.