Building Healthy Families exists to strengthen, support, and encourage healthy families and communities by teaching and reinforcing healthy lifestyles, habits, and communication.

Building Healthy Families is the first program of Lutheran Services in Tennessee serving persons living in poverty. Women gather weekly for an education class, meal, and the opportunity to choose personal or household items from the Caring Closet. As it says in the Building Healthy Families Community statement, it is “a time for multi-generational-therapeutic sisterhood to learn, grow, and become more powerfully whole.”

The following are comments made by participants about their experience with Building Healthy Families:


"I love interactive family settings. It also allows me to get to know the other women better."


"It’s a chance to bond, to grow, to meet new people."


"This helps me to understand, know and encourage my neighbors."


"I want an outlet to talk and fellowship with women I would never had a chance to meet."


"I enjoy learning new things and being around other people."


Program Director Janet Arning

Since 2010 Janet Arning has served as Program Director for Lutheran Services in Tennessee . Her main responsibilities include the Healthy Garden program and Building Healthy Families program, in addition to MyCanvas. Janet is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has served in the Nashville nonprofit community for the last 26 years. Janet is a native of Nashville and now resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband Ed and their two boys, Jake and Wesley.