Love In the Name of Christ started in Woodburn as a clearinghouse for people's diverse needs; second annual fundraiser coming on Aug. 15

You’re a single mom who currently has charge of eight children. Three of them are yours, and five of them belong to your friend who can’t care for them right now. You don’t have beds for all of them, you don’t have enough clothes to go around, and you’re not even sure where you’re going to get enough food to feed them all. Where do you turn?

For generations, the first place most people in need, including those who have lost jobs, who need housing, or who just need some gas money to get them to job interviews, doctor appointments, or even just a little further down the road, have turned to the church for help and prayer. And, for generations, the church has stepped up to provide for those in need.

But times change. Now, instead of one “community church,” a hub where resources are gathered from all of the families into one location, most communities, including Woodburn, have dozens of churches. And as the churches multiply, more and more of them tend to be small, with limited resources. So when people with needs, especially those with large needs like the mother of eight above, show up at the door asking, “Can you help?” it can seem overwhelming, impossible to even know where to start.

All too often, if a congregation is able to help at all, it can only give limited help; not nearly enough to make much of a dent in the need. And so the person moves on to the door of the next congregation, and the next, and the next. It is frustrating for both the person in need, and for the congregations, who have a heart to help, but lack the resources.

Enter Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC). Love INC provides a way for people with needs to access resources that can help them in times of crisis, as well as a way for the congregations in a community to network together to meet needs more effectively.

The process starts when a person calls the Love INC clearinghouse (971-983-5683). There they will talk to a person who is trained to listen carefully to their story, and to help identify all of the needs that the person might have (not just the most urgent ones). They may be referred to agencies and social services organizations that have specific programs that can help with some of their needs.

For the rest of their needs, they are referred to individual congregations in the Love INC system that have developed “gap ministries,” services that fill in the “gaps” in services and resources provided by official agencies. One congregation may supply non-perishable necessities, like soap, shampoo and bath tissue.

Others may specialize in clothing or furniture, providing rides or one of a host of other need-meeting ministries. This allows all of the congregations to work together to help the person in need, without any one church having to bear the whole weight of the need.

In the case of the single mom above (yes, this was a real person who came to Love INC for help), when she called Love INC, the phone was answered by a person who helped her to talk out all of her needs. Then the system began to work.

Almost immediately, a daybed frame came in from Emerald Garden, and was delivered by a couple from the Church of Christ. The very next day a clearinghouse volunteer from Hoodview Church of God provided a twin mattress for the daybed. It was delivered by a volunteer from First Presbyterian Church. That helped to meet the most immediate need.

But there’s more! This mom will receive additional support for her school-age children through the August back-to-school event that Love INC is hosting. At that event, the children will be able to select a backpack and school supplies, as well as a warm winter coat and school clothes.

In just a few days, the Woodburn Foursquare Church will be serving these eight children with a trip to their children’s clothing closet, where they will be supplied with whatever clothing they may need. And the Love INC volunteers and congregations will continue to serve this mom until she is solidly on her feet.

Love INC relies on participation by its associated congregations, and on donations from the caring people of our community for its operations.

Each congregation is encouraged to develop a gap ministry and to hold fundraising events.

In addition, Love INC will be holding its second annual dinner and auction on Friday, Aug. 15, at Silverton Health, 1475 Mount Hood Ave., in Woodburn. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will begin at 6:30, with a silent auction and oral auction to follow. Tickets are $30 each, or a table of eight is $225.

The community is invited to this fun and exciting event that will not only provide an enjoyable evening (and some great items to bid on), but will also help Love INC to effectively minister to people in need all over our community.

For questions, or to purchase tickets, call Nora Crauthers at 503-930-3220, or Love INC at 971-983-5683.

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