First Lutheran Church and School in Venice realized that more help has been needed since the nation’s economic downturn, so earlier this month, the children, teachers and parents of the school kicked off “Community Service Month” with a new school T-shirt, a blanket-gathering campaign and a list of charitable activities planned for the month to come.

“Our children realized that many Venice families are in additional need this year, so they wanted to give of their time and energy to help,” says First Lutheran School’s Penny Muck.

Recently, the students presented blankets donated by the school to the Westside Food Bank. Middle-grade students are also donating time during their lunch hour to feed residents of the Bible Tabernacle in Venice.

First Lutheran of Venice families are also “adopting” families for Christmas through the Los Angeles Social Services Department, and additional initiatives are planned for 2009, including a “Cooking for Community” effort that is in the final planning stages, said a First Lutheran of Venice spokesperson.