A day in the life of the Love INC Clearinghouse can be hectic, educational, heart wrenching, maddening and extremely rewarding.
With one or two volunteers in the office each weekday to answer phones, we generally will do five or so intakes. Those intakes last about 20 minutes and consist of gathering information from neighbors in need in order to determine what the real problem is, not just the current need.
Love INC then mobilizes our network of local churches, Christian volunteers and ministries to help those people that want to get out of their life situation so that they don’t continue to have “issues of the moment” to battle through. Secular and governmental organizations are also used as appropriate.
A good example of what we can do when the need is great was initiated by a call from a neighbor with two children and another due any day. There was no family in a position to help. The request started out as rent assistance and a request for baby items.
After our intake, we also found other substantial needs that got others involved; there was Christian fostering through our Safe Families program, St. Michael’s with its furniture ministry supplying a washer and dryer, food from Brandywine Community Church and Cross of Grace Lutheran, and bathroom necessities from St. James Lutheran and Realife Church. Park Chapel Christian Church helped with utilities and rent. Some secular help was gathered from Goodwill and the Federal Child Care Discount Fund (She now has affordable daycare for the kids). This family has been helped by at least five Christian churches that participated in getting their own church members in action and showing Christ’s love.
Additionally, this mom now has a job and, even more significantly, is attending church with her kids — and that is a lot of what Love INC is all about.
This was an extreme example of just one neighbor calling. Other, more common, issues include single requests like rent, utility assistance, a felon needing help finding a job or just food to put on the table. Certain furniture items are always in demand. Each request is looked at thoroughly with the goal of finding what can be done to help them get out of the cycle of poverty or need. That help could include our money management classes or it could be just a friend to visit with and a church to attend.
I mentioned Safe Families above, and many of you may not know what that is. Thirty Christian families from eight different churches in Hancock County have volunteered and trained to provide short-term respite care for the children of families in crisis.
This care can be from one night to multiple weeks (as a current domestic abuse situation is ongoing, for example). These families in crisis are not necessarily those without money. This could truly be your neighbor having a family crisis.
Other ministries that Love INC shepherd include our money management classes that are designed for people who don’t necessarily have a checking or bank account.
We also do job skills classes that talk about attitude, resume development, time management and how to go about looking for employment. Cooking skills classes are designed to teach families the best ways to make their food dollars stretch while still paying attention to nutritional values. Family life skills teach how to get along — boundaries, listening skills and the five love languages are basics in this class.
If you have a need, would like more information about us or have a heart for Christ and want to help, give us a call at 317-468-6300.
Phil Miller of Greenfield is the former chair of the Hancock County Libertarian Party. He also served on the Greenfield City Council.