Partnering with churches and relying on their services, Love Inc. of Ottawa County works with low income families of all religions. The charity provides for basic needs, with a focus on food, clothing, and work related needs. For example, someone seeking employment may be able to find clothes for their job or maybe transportation for a job interview. Some of the other main programs from local churches are below.
Counseling, such as for credit or budgeting reasons as well as general life skills are offered. Free workshops as well as budget counseling is for individuals. The charity may offer them hope and a general support network to help get clients on the path to self-sufficiency.
Food, clothing, and furniture banks or pantries are located in Ottawa County Michigan. There may be free groceries, personal care items, beds, sleeper sofas, and other basic home furnishings. Most of these items are donated to Love and then are passed out to needy families who meet qualifications. Many volunteers from churches will tend to donate these items. There is also baby furniture, infant clothing, bedding and care products to low income families with a new baby.
Similar to above is a bike program. It may provide for the repair of them for children and adults so they can use them for school or work related reasons.
The New to You Store is a thrift type location. Love Inc and its partners are involved in the collection, display and sorting of used household accessories and clothing, including school supplies. The items are then sold in communities such as Allendale to clients at a reduced rate. Some very low income clients are given vouchers so they can buy the goods for free from the thrift store. 6101 Lake Michigan Dr., Suite B, Allendale, MI 49401, 616-895-5700.
The unemployed in Michigan can get help with a Work Search. Groups and staff meet weekly on Thursday mornings to talk about finding employment, practice interviews, updating resumes, and get support in their hunt.
Transportation, maybe even including car repairs, is coordinated by volunteer drivers from churches and they are using their own vehicles for this. They may provide rides to work, doctors appointments, or an interview. There may also be free gas vouchers for those job interviews or some basic car repairs done by local Ottawa County garages. They also accept donations of cars which then may be repaired and sold or given for free to local families that qualify.
Churches are involved in collecting and loaning out Medical Equipment. Love Inc is involved in the collection, cleaning, storage and distribution of donated medical equipment. Examples may be wheelchairs, crutches, and other items.
Other basic needs are offered too. This can include the New Closet, which may be household items donated by churches and given for free to local families as part of the Life Skills Program. The Love 'N Stitches Sewing Ministry is blankets and items that are given to the homeless, veterans, seniors, and very low income in the region. Love Inc. also passed out free diapers, wipes, formula as resources allow and rash cream to families in need of help. Or home repairs for seniors are part of S.K.I.L.L. (Showing Kindness in Labors of Love).
Educational support is mainly offered by English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) classes and referrals. The charity has information on job and employment training programs in the region and really across Michigan.
Dozens of churches work with Love. Some of the main ones include Allendale Baptist Church, Second Christian, North Blendon Christian Reformed Church, Coopersville Christian, United Reformed, John's Lutheran, and Bauer Christian Reformed Church. However there are many others.
Referrals of course are offered from the clearinghouse. Love Inc. has information on resources in Allendale, Coopersville and really across Ottawa County. The organization will connect people to programs that may help them during their time of need, whether those are government benefits are private organizations. For more information, the center is at 11620 60th Avenue, Allendale, Michigan 4940, 616-895-5683.
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