“There is a place…”
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
815-963-4815 Emergency: 815-980-8993 EmmanuelLutheranRockford.org
Emmanuel Lutheran Church 920 Third Avenue Rockford, Illinois 61104

“For we are God's fellow workers…” –1 Corinthians 3:9

Outreach Ministry

Emmanuel has found a great need among the hungry and homeless in Rockford's MidTown neighborhood. Emmanuel's Outreach Ministry members consider it a blessing to be able to respond to their physical and Spiritual needs. Volunteers operate all the ministry's activities. New volunteers are always welcome to join us in serving God through serving our neighbors.

If you have questions about any of Emmanuel’s community service programs, or want to volunteer for the Outreach Ministry, please call the church office, 815-963-4815, or send an email.

Mission House

320 S. Fifth Street
Rockford, Illinois

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” Jane Addams (1860-1935)

Photo by Alvin McGovern

The Emmanuel Mission House was established in the late 1970's. It is located in the “White House” next to the church. The Mission House apartments are on the second floor. Since its establishment the apartments have been a refuge for battered women, single moms, veterans, homeless people, people living with HIV/AIDS, recovering addicts, and the mentally challenged. Over the years this ministry has had an impact in changing many lives.

Emmanuel partners with Carpenter's Place (CarpentersPlace.org/links.htm) to manage the apartments.

Soup Kitchen

320 S. Fifth Street
Rockford, Illinois

Hours of operation (also see Outreach Calendar):
Saturday:11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday:11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Monday:11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Except holidays.

There is a calendar with a schedule posted on doors of Soup Kitchen. We serve lunch to all who are hungry in the Rockford area.

The Soup Kitchen is located on the first floor of the Mission House. Two to three noon meals per week are served there feeding 1,200 to 1,500 people each month. Twenty different churches and organizations are involved in serving meals there. Each church or organization that serves buys the food and prepares the meal out of their own budgets. Emmanuel hosts and manages the monthly schedule of volunteers. All neighborhood groups are invited to join Emmanuel in cooking for and serving to our neighbors in need.

Food Pantry

920 Third Avenue, the Sunday School wing
Rockford, Illinois

Important Information

Hours of operation:
Every Monday:9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Every Friday:9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
 Numbers are handed out at 9:30 a.m., no earlier.
Closed on Holidays. 
  • Identification is needed for everyone such as ID, driver's license, medical card, mail with name and address, etc. And, if possible, identification for children.
  • Bathroom facilities available after the food pantry opens.


  • Go to Sixth Street and East State Street.
  • Turn south on Sixth Street, which is one way.
  • Go three block.
  • Emmanuel is on the right (west).
  • Park in the back parking lot of the church.

The Food Pantry was started in 1977 and is located on Emmanuel's first floor in the Sunday School wing. It is open two mornings each week, and serves over 1,000 families in the Rockford area with emergency provisions each month. The need began to increase dramatically in recent years, so two years ago Emmanuel began hosting a special pantry offering at the worship service on the second Sunday of the month. This offering is in addition to our regular monetary offerings each Sunday. Parishioners pick slips of paper out of an offering tray, and we call this a reverse offering. The slips of paper have different foods and household goods typed on them. Each parishioner may take as many as he or she wishes. The chosen items are then brought back to the church on the third Sunday and placed in grocery carts that are stationed in the narthex. After all of the food and other items are collected, the (hopefully) brimming carts are brought—along with the monetary offerings—to the altar rail where they are blessed by the pastor.

Even if you're not a member of our congregation, donations of food and funds are always welcome to help Emmanuel meet the challenges of the growing need in Rockford.  Donations are accepted in the church office: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 


Emmanuel also supports and partners with other community service entities, such as Habitat for Humanity.

It Was More Than Just An Ice Cream Social

At one of our Ice Cream Socials, Jennie saw a stranger come walking through the park, and gave him a bookmark. When Jennie gives you a bookmark, she looks in your eyes, says your name, and tells you that you are Beautiful inside.

When Jennie gave the bookmark to this stranger, tears welled up in his eyes, and he told her this story.

He had just been released from prison after having served time for dealing drugs. He hadn't been home for more than a few hours when a drug dealer knocked on his door wanting to recruit him. He turned the dealer away and went for a walk, which is how he ended up at Emmanuel's Ice Cream Social. He said he thought it was a miracle that someone would tell him he was Beautiful inside at the very moment he needed to hear it, and that with the help of God he was going to give up drugs and alcohol.

When the man walked away he was holding his “I AM BEAUTIFUL INSIDE” bookmark, and smiling.

We never know what little acts of kindness can change a person's life.

We saw this poem and realized that it sums up why we volunteer for the Outreach Ministry:


On the street I saw a small girl
cold and shivering in a thin dress,
with little hope of a decent meal.

I became angry and said to God, 
“Why did you permit this?
Why don't you do something about this?”

For awhile I heard nothing.
That night God replied, 
Quite suddenly, 
“I certainly did something about it.

I made YOU.”

Outreach Calendar of Activities