By Starrla Cray
WRIGHT, CARVER, HENNEPIN COUNTIES, MN Looking for a meaningful way to volunteer in 2012?
Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) Heartland has limitless opportunities from childcare to car repair and everything in between.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Love INC is invited to its annual meeting/celebration Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 513 Madison St. SE in Watertown. Dessert and beverages will be served.
“We gather to thank God for all of the miracles we saw through our church network in 2011,” the meeting flyer noted. “We see God at work in the lives of our church members and our neighbors in need.”
In 2011, Love INC met 13,120 needs, serving 748 families in the communities of Independence, Loretto, Greenfield, Rockford, Mayer, Montrose, Howard Lake, Waverly, Delano, Watertown, and Maple Plain.
“It’s been a wonderful, miraculous year, thanks to the support of the communities,” said Terri Harris, director of Love INC Heartland.
Love INC is a network of about 25 area churches of various denominations working together to connect people to the love of Christ, and serve them with practical love.
A total of 15,790 hours of volunteer work was recorded in 2011.
“One of our newest ministries is transportation,” Harris said. “We are looking for people who wouldn’t mind giving someone a ride. We have so many people who need rides for things like chemo appointments and grocery shopping.”
In September, Love INC also began a relational ministry. Church volunteers are partnered with families for a 10-week class, which covers topics like money management, job readiness, parenting, and nutrition.
“We always need volunteers for that,” Harris said. “It’s a two-hour-per-week commitment.”
According to Harris, many are already reaping the blessings of the relational ministry.
“Families have reported a lot less stress,” she said, adding that money problems are often a major stress trigger in marriages.
“Just having someone else to help them look at finances a different way can make a difference,” Harris said. “We’ve seen marriages heal. That can really have a widespread impact.”
Young, single people are also gaining insight from the class.
“We had a teenager attend, and the very first night, he said, ‘I never thought of this, but I could go to college,’” Harris said. “His whole future’s different.”
Ways to show love
Other Love INC ministries include gifts of clothing, furniture, lullaby (infant items), housewares, bedding and linens, and personal care items.
“We’re constantly behind on twin beds and upright dressers,” Harris said. “Brand new pillows and handmade blankets are also always welcome.”
One way to support Love INC is by donating or purchasing items from its thrift store (318 Railroad Ave. in Delano), which is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Wednesdays, it is also open from 6 to 8 p.m.
Monetary contributions, prayer, and volunteer work are also appreciated.
To volunteer with Love INC, call volunteer coordinator Lisa Green at the Love INC office, (763) 972-6547.
“We’re always looking for volunteers,” Harris said. “If anyone from our churches has a passion for something, we can find a use for it.”