by Summer Lane
This year Rene Harder took over as executive director of Love INC in Reedley. KRL finally had the chance to chat with her about how things are going.
Summer: Tell us a little about Love INC and what you do.
Rene: Love INC stands for Love In the Name of Christ and we serve Reedley, Orange Cove, and the mountain communities–the reach of Kings Canyon Unified School District. We were closed for about six months and reopened in June of this year. The Clearinghouse is the core of all we do–people with difficult life circumstances can call and our volunteers gather their stories and information. We then decide how we can best serve them and assist them in getting out of those circumstances with the use of local churches, agencies, our own services (GAP ministries), and/or volunteers. We also have a furniture warehouse and food pantry to those who go through the Clearinghouse intake process and have a need for those items. Our goal is to give hand ups and not just hand outs. We verify all calls to ensure that we are helping and not hurting by furthering a cycle of dependency. We truly believe in Jeremiah 29:11–God has a plan for each life and that does not include a life of dependency.
Summer: The Sparkies’ Kindergarten class I work with in AWANA is tithing this year to Love INC. I think it’s a wonderful cause. What would be your mission statement to somebody who didn’t know anything about Love INC?
Rene: Our mission statement is to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. We are an extension of the local church that is able to get church members involved in the community in a hands on way.
Summer: How did you get involved with the ministry?
Rene: When I found out that there was a search going on for a new director, after much prayer I applied and then was later hired to take the position. I began in February.
Summer: Have you seen peoples’ lives change because of the gospel?
Rene: Because we rely on church volunteers to answer phone lines and deliver food and furniture I don’t get to see and hear first-hand lives changed. However, I’ve heard from volunteers about many lives that have been encouraged and changed. Our hope is that we connect people with local churches (if they don’t already have one) so that they can continue on their journey of faith with a community of believers.
Summer: What can people do to get involved with Love INC?
Rene: They can email us at email@example.com or call our office at 638-6939. We can then share the many volunteer opportunities that are available.
Summer: What would be your take-away message for anyone reading this article?
Rene: That Love INC is here in the community wanting to be a part of bringing wholeness to people’s lives through local churches and church volunteers. We live in a wonderful community and we are blessed to be a part of all that God is doing in it.
Summer: Have there been an increase in need over the holidays?
Rene: Yes! Especially since the beginning of December. Our calls have increased, specifically with requests for food.
Summer: Is there anything special that LOVE Inc is doing during this time of year?
Rene: We are not doing any large events or food giveaways or things like that this year. We know there are other organizations doing this and we are figuring out this year what a needed gap is during the holidays for next year. However, we do give food to those who call our Clearinghouse and have a verified need for food assistance. We deeply appreciate the many canned food drives that have restocked our pantry shelves so that we can provide this to our clients.
Editor’s Note: Love INC is closed for the holidays until January 2, 2013.