By Mindy Weisberg

Calvary Lutheran Church will celebrate their 45th anniversary by hoping to feed 450 local families this Thanksgiving season.  Founded in the SouthShore community in 1967 with 61 charter members, there are currently over 1100 members.  The church expands its mission-focused heritage by continually giving back to the community that supports it.  Today, Calvary asks that same community to help it achieve its mission goal this Thanksgiving.

Calvary’s annual Thanks for Giving campaign is food donation program has provided Thanksgiving meals to thousands of area families over the years.  This year’s drive ends on Sunday, November 11 and has a goal of attaining 450 Thanks for Giving bags from congregants and community donations.  While this goal is lofty, the demand for food is even higher in the SouthShore area, where it is believed that one in six families need assistance sourcing meals.  Pastor Jack Palzer said, “For 45 years, God has provided this congregation with many blessings. It’s only right to share them with the community.”

Monetary donations are greatly appreciated as they are used to purchase fresh produce and meats.  All food will be distributed through Calvary’s Community Cupboard food pantry, located on the 25 acre mission center at 1424 E. College Ave. in Ruskin.

In addition to collecting the food bags, Calvary’s 45th anniversary will also involve a special visit from Florida-Bahamas Synod Bishop Edward Benoway of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America during the Sunday, November 18 services.  Calvary members and guests can enjoy a delicious Harvest Festival brunch between services and the church will also conclude their annual Gifts and Giving campaign, where congregants determine personal financial goals to help fund the church and expansion plans.

With a growing congregation, Calvary has future plans to relocate to College Avenue in Ruskin. Calgary has several active outreach programs, including the Thanks for Giving program, Community Cupboard food pantry, the Angel Attic thrift store, and Angel Tree Christmas gift program.

Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 5309 Hwy. 41 N. in Apollo Beach and offers worship services every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., 9:40 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.  For more information, visit or call the church office at 645-1305.


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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.