From our partners at the Lebanon Reporter:
Love in the Name of Christ (Love Inc.) has been serving those in need since 2011, coordinating with Boone County churches to provide a variety of items to the community.
Zionsville United Methodist Church, for example, is their location providing adult clothing. Lebanon Christian Church provides linens.
The members of each of the 38 partnering churches have a specific focus and through Love Inc., an international organization, residents in Boone County can receive what they need.
“Love Inc. exists to mobilize churches to meet needs in the community and transform lives in the name of Christ,” Co-Executive Director Marcia Overfield said. “Through church volunteers we’re able to provide clothing, cleaning supplies, personal care items, towels and linens, furniture and appliances.”
Love Inc. also has a ministry program, going beyond providing specific items and an encouraging word.
Classes are offered to anyone in the community and include “Affirming Potential,” a 12-week course designed to look beyond the crisis of today and begin to look toward the future.
“Boundaries” is an eight-week course to help with interpersonal relationships and “Faith and Finances” is looking at budgeting, planning and having faith that God will provide.
Classes begin Oct. 26, but anyone can join at any time.
In January 2022, Love Inc. launched its newest program, “Homes from the Heart.”
The organization began partnering with local apartment complexes to find a location families in need can use for a short time.
“We have an apartment at Shakers Square and then in March, another apartment at Parkview became available,” Co-Executive Director Traci Hoffman said.
Families are provided for in the apartment for three to six months. There are requirements of the program, including attending classes, saving money and submitting to random drug tests.
Most importantly, Overfield said, they are provided with a case manager and a mentor, helping to set measurable goals and getting on their feet.
“We’ve seen single moms who have been able to change jobs for a higher paying one. Some are nearly done obtaining their G.E.D. and have qualified to get an apartment on their own,” Overfield said. “We’ve had another mom who was just baptized and as a faith-based organization we see that as a blessing and success.”
Each family completes a 25-category assessment at the beginning and throughout their stay, enabling them to see progress and empowering the families to keep moving in the right direction.
“We come around them just like I would do for my own children,” Overfield said. “We’re taught to love our neighbor like Christ loves us and this is a good opportunity to share encouragement, dream big and give them a chance to be independent.”
Such a large program requires many volunteers.
Love Inc. is looking for mentors, for both the classes and the apartments. Churches can walk beside the family, bring them a meal once per week and help with providing basic supplies. A moving team and cleaning team are needed each time a family moves in or out.
“Sometimes, things happen really rapidly,” Overfield said. “It can be as little as three days and we need to take action, so just having a list of people we know we can call on to make this happen is very helpful.”
Overfield and Hoffman hope the program continues to grow.
“We’d love to expand, but it depends on funding. Right now, we’re asking for 200 individuals or groups to sponsor with $16 per month,” Hoffman said. “We need to hire a part-time program manager for the Homes from the Heart portion and we need to make connections with landlords who are willing to work with us.”
Donations of all kinds are helpful. The apartments need bathmats, shower curtains, trashcans, kitchen supplies and more.
Love Inc. has an emergency food pantry and can always use canned food items. In addition, volunteers are needed to make phone calls on a regular basis, checking in with those they’ve provided for and confirming needs have been met.
“We have our hands full,” Overfield said. “Last year, we met 3,400 needs and this year, we’re at the same capacity, if not more.”
For more information, visit the website at https://www.loveincbc.org.