One of the Core Values that we focus on is “We value continually maturing in our capacity to meet people’s needs”. Rather than just say that we cannot serve a need because it does not fit our usual scope of services, rather than just write a simple denial letter, we truly try to expand our opportunities to assist. We do not want to limit God. For us, our new focus is Love Beyond Band-Aids.
We have working partnerships with more churches, agencies, and landlords than ever, and we are reaching out as advocates for our clients in extra phone calls, brainstorming, and asking for accountability from our clients and neighbors to try and get to the root of issues and come up with workable solutions.
Last week we met a young couple who came to Nacogdoches from out of state to be with two ailing family members. When they moved, they lost their jobs and their apartments. They have been with family until recently, when each of the family member passed away within a fairly close time frame. For various reasons they are unable to stay at our local homeless shelter. The couple is homeless. But they are not helpless.
They came to Love INC so that they could get current Texas IDs for employment. The IDs they had are from out of state, and had recently expired. This couple arrived at our doorstep hungry, dirty, and asking for help to make a real change in their lives. The more we visited with them, we more we wanted to walk along-side them. We had some snacks on hand and the first thing we did was to feed them. They were starving. We also gave them a bag of personal hygiene items and a voucher to go to the Recreation Center to get a shower. The afternoon they came was also the day that First United Methodist Church serves a free meal in the evening. We sent the couple to the Free Supper where they were welcomed and well fed. We also sent them with two of the sleeping mats crocheted from recycled plastic bags by Grace Bible Church. They were so very appreciative.
They came back to the Love INC office the next where we discussed possibly sending them to a shelter in Houston. That shelter has more resources than we have here in Nacogdoches, and this couple really wants to work and get their own apartment.
We purchased bus tickets for them, and they called us when they arrived at the shelter. They are doing well and thankful for the compassion, support, motivation, counseling, accountability, and our community and the love that was POURED over them. Shout out to the churches who joined us to offer them a hand up, First United Methodist Church and your soup kitchen. They reported they ate so much they had to lay down on the grass outside for a while. Grace Bible Church, they reported that they loved the mats. Also, they came across another homeless person who really loved the mat so they gave one of theirs to her. The next day when they came back for their bus tickets and transportation to the bus stop, I offered another mat to them. They declined and said the one they had was really big enough for them. They wanted us to be sure we had plenty to give away to others. They have been in touch per email and have called us a couple of times since they arrived at the shelter. The shelter they arrived at in Houston was the only one open later in the evening. It is a really older church that has been trying to serve the homeless for some time. They have no A/C and the residents are required to supply their own toiletries, transportation, etc. After talking to the manager of the shelter, I see God’s hand in our opportunity. We will send them some of the items that can aid them as they open their doors to the homeless. I have also reached out to some churches in their area as well. Continue to pray for God’s direction as we chase after Him and how He can use us all for His glory.
Love INC continues to strive to serve with intention to build relationships. From our experience, there is not one big solution to solve homelessness or how to feed everyone, or provide all that folks need in these difficult times. I personally have been in the helping field for over 40 years in this community. As an administrator, counselor or case manager, or whatever hat I wore, the same problems surface. Housing, transportation, self-sufficiency limitations are the same problems, the same dilemma that most people request or others request for them. Just as Christ did, serving one person or one family at a time actually conquers these problems/needs. Our case load is a steady 40-50 people/families every day! Right now I am looking at 8 families who have severe home repair needs. I am talking about floors falling through, no water, and no way to go to the bathroom INSIDE! Dangerous roof leaks, not to mention yard clean up and trash removal. Black mold problems, rotting floor and a toilet has fallen through. I could go on and on. Most of these are elderly folks who own their homes and property and have no family at all or no family who are willing or able to help. Love INC is dedicated to bring these needs to our community. Our mission is to mobilize the church/ all believers (as one body of Christ) to serve others together in the Name of Jesus. No one has to look far to know many needs of the people who live down the street and around the corner from all of us. Come serve your community, we have their address.
Other validated requests are for new or gently used items:
Full size frames, box springs, mattresses
Queen size frames, box springs, mattresses
King size frames and box springs
Twin size linens
Transportation to Medical appointments
Crew Love –Home Repairs
Patti Goodrum is executive director of Love INC.