As we enter March, the Love INC staff typically finds a time where we can catch our breath, re-focus, and plan for the months to come. The holidays are a recent pleasant memory, Chairished Blessings Fundraiser is behind us, and Holy Week is approaching. Summer Meals in the Park and Back to School Shared Blessings are not quite on the drawing board. It has been our experience that we have a little over a month that is a bit slower for us. Some of our clients have gotten their income tax refunds, and historically fewer people reach out to us from late February to the end of March.
Each application and each family situation that the application represents is important to us. We want to offer comfort, motivation and support while providing accountability. This week as we scheduled our home team visits, we also had time to continue our home visit rotations, where we return to folks we have seen within the past six months. We re-visit their situation, see if they have any new needs and also offer some companionship and prayer.
The home visit rotations give us an opportunity to really “mobilize the church.” For instance, we called on a lady who, because of health reasons, is no longer able to be as active in the community as she was earlier in her life. We found her eager for Christian friends. She is full of vitality, knowledge, experience and love of the Lord. Her body just will not take her all of the places she wants to go, so she will have to be selective. We know of at least two different women’s ministries in two separate churches in her neighborhood. We will contact these active, loving ladies; we hope they will welcome her and help her feel less lonesome.
Three of our other home visits were furniture requests we will be able to fill. A father has recently obtained custody of his teenage son, and needs a bed with linens and a place to put his clothes. We recently received a generous monetary donation that was designated for plastic drawer storage units. With those funds we were able to purchase enough units to share with this week’s families, and several more to have on hand. Our clients are thrilled to use these for storage, and we do not get many dresser donations. The drawer storage units are portable enough for folks to take with them when they move. A few individual storage drawer units were dropped off at the office, and we thank you for them. We also appreciate those of you who recently donated soup and cereal bows and kitchen utensils. Thank you for helping us meet specific needs. We can still use still more of all of those household items.
As I mentioned above, we re-focus and plan for the months ahead. One of the goals we are working on is to have a Spring warehouse sale. Mark your calendars for Friday, April 3. We will have some of the larger items of furniture and other select items priced to move! We will put up a tent here on the Love INC grounds, and welcome the public to a one-day sale.
Our warehouse ministry is a unique service of Love INC. This ministry offers tangible resources for the families we serve. As I have stated before, in Nacogdoches there are many working poor individuals. This is the main population we serve. Folks who are working, paying their bills and raising their children find it impossible to live off minimum wage. Many salaries are even above minimum wage and still it is difficult to make ends meet. The warehouse ministry is designed to supplement these families so they will not spend their money on household items. With this said, we have encountered many obstacles as we have served families. One in particular are beds. We are very thankful for donated beds, please do not misunderstand me as we appreciate being able to pass on these beds to people in need. However, I am afraid that used beds are becoming a liability. I am researching the possibility for us to purchase new beds. I found several wholesale outlets that have a program for non-profits to buy new beds at a very low cost. The bed-bug problem is severe not only in Nacogdoches, but in most towns. We spray all our beds no matter where they come from before we give a bed or any furniture to a family. If the families experiences a problem later after the delivery at any time, we are blamed for the infestation because it was used. We have folks sign an “as is” statement showing when the bed, couch or other furniture item was treated and legally this does not matter because the item was used. If we sold the item, there would be no problem. This is not the intent of the Love INC warehouse ministry as we hope to supplement families to encourage them to pay their monthly bills. The rule of thumb anyone should consider is to donate items to Love INC that you would have and use in your home. Again, we appreciate all of your donations to the warehouse ministry. We will be making some changes as we have a responsibility to provide a safe exchange of goods to our clients.
“We ought to support people like that, so that we may become fellow workers with the truth.” John 1:8
Other validated requests are for:
■ Plastic drawer storage units
■ Small dining tables
■ Kitchen utensils
■ Dining chairs
■ Hot plates or electric skillets (for efficiency apartments without stoves)
Patti Goodrum is executive director of Love INC.