Love INC of Columbia opened its doors in Mary 2008 to provide a clearinghouse for local churches and volunteers to pool their resources and strategize together to help those in need in our community. Love INC is built on an ever developing church partnership network. Our resources are volunteer and donation driven and fluctuate at times. We serve Columbia residents only and are person versus need focused. We try to establish relationships with those we serve and prioritize individuals referred from churches and community agencies. We typically provide financial assistance only to those who are willing to engage in one of our relationship-based programs.
Our intake workers use a six-page script for a telephone interview that addresses a wide range of topics (housing, family/support network, income, health/mental health, education/employment, religious affiliation, goals and barriers to achieving them). Our goal is to spend time with the individual, establish a relationship and try to discover underlying issues contributing to the presenting problem so these can be addressed. An intervention plan is established that may include referrals to community agencies/churches, ongoing contact and/or follow up depending on client need and interest.
- Who to Refer: Individuals that you feel could benefit from such an assessment/action plan and particularly those who express a desire to look beyond resolution of immediate need to long term solutions. We are often asked to assess a situation for a local church and (with client permission) work together with that church to find a solution/create an action plan.
We offer prayer at the conclusion of our intake interview. We also have volunteers available to offer prayer upon request over the telephone, through a personal appointment or home visit.
- Who to Refer: Anyone who has expressed a desire for prayer.
Love INC has created over 50 fact/resource documents based on requests made to our clearinghouse. We can provide electronic or paper copies as needed.
- Who to Refer: Anyone seeking information available at Love INC.
We have developed and maintain a church directory and are working toward identifying a contact person in each church who can ensure a warm welcome to our clients if they choose to attend. Many local churches offer transportation and have support groups and programs that address specific needs/stages of life. Several churches have partnered with us to create “gap” ministries to meet specific needs (baby equipment, pre-school clothing, hygiene/laundry supplies, reentry welcome packs) and we provide screening and direct referrals.
- Who to Refer: Individuals who have indicated that they would like to find a local church that is a good fit for them and/or those who could benefit from the relational support offered by church support groups and programs. Individuals needing specific items offered through gap ministries.
The Love Seat Furniture Bank
Basic necessity furniture and house wares are provided at no cost to certain individuals/families Availability of items depends on donations received and delivery volunteers available. A screening interview is required. If you have a client who fits these categories
- Who to Refer: Those in transition within the last three months (from a shelter, transitional housing, foster care, or incarceration or due to fire or disaster or refugee status) or those who are in extremely dire need. In all cases we will ask for verification information and require that you have made a home visit before approval.
Living Large for Real Life Skills Classes
Living Large is a free 12-week program of classes and relationship building opportunities. The two-hour program is held on Thursday evenings twice a year (Sept – Dec and Feb – May). In the first hour, participants chose from four practical living options: employment search, money management, child birth or personal growth (wide range of topics and guest speakers). In the second hour they have the option of hearing a guest speaker tell their personal story (typically one of overcoming obstacles to move forward in life, often faith-related). Childcare is provided and transportation is available upon request.
- Who to Refer: Anyone who could benefit from the practical living options or is interested in expanding their social network or receiving spiritual encouragement.
Side by Side Focused Coaching
Clients are matched with volunteers who can assist in the following areas:
- Who to Refer: Anyone who would benefit and is interested.
- Who to Refer: Anyone who would benefit and is interested particularly those who could benefit from personalized attention. We recommend Job Point job readiness class and Career Center programs to all our clients but recognize some individuals benefit from additional help and encouragement particularly if they have barriers to employment.
- Who to Refer: Anyone who would benefit and is interested but particularly helpful for those in a time of transition.
Extra Mile Extended Coaching
Extra Mile is a four-month individual coaching program focused on achieving financial self-sufficiency and building relationships. Participants meet weekly with a volunteer coach. A high level of accountability regarding spending and financial situation is required. A point system and rewards are used. A screening interview is required.
- Who to Refer: Individuals who are serious about moving forward in life and willing to learn new strategies and meet new people.
Financial assistance is available on a very limited basis and typically offered only in conjunction with participation in other Love INC programs. Our intake interview helps us get acquainted and discover if and how we can assist.
- Who to Refer: Those who are interested in getting involved in one of our relational programs.
1 - Description of Love INC Services
2 - Voicemail for agency and church staff to leave requests
3 - Voicemail for clients to leave requests (other than furniture - all furniture requests must come from agencies/churches)
21 - Direct line to the office manager