2016-01-24 / Insight

Love INC lends helping hands to any in need

BY ADAM FITZGERALD SMITH
810-452-2601 • asmith@mihomepaper.com


Sue Brady, Bryana Mathews and Debi Alexander volunteer their time to help the less fortunate all around Lapeer County. “We don’t make money,” Brady said. “We use money to help others.” 
Photo by Adam Fitzgerald Smith Sue Brady, Bryana Mathews and Debi Alexander volunteer their time to help the less fortunate all around Lapeer County. “We don’t make money,” Brady said. “We use money to help others.” Photo by Adam Fitzgerald Smith MAYFIELD TWP. — Tucked away behind the Lapeer Church of Christ off North Lapeer Road is a small, cozy building in the back of the parking lot with a small sign hanging above its door. “Love In the Name of Christ” is what the signs reads and upon entering this building one will find director Sue Brady and any number of volunteers organizing winter boots, taking phone call after phone call, delegating different duties around town and taking on case after case working with struggling individuals in our community.

There are more people in Lapeer County that are hungry, without homes or struggling to pay bills and walking through the winter snow without proper footwear or protection from the elements than most would ever imagine. To use numbers to illustrate the dedication of Love INC — they received 8,284 calls for help, donated 1,325 hours of volunteer work, sent 9,098 people to churches around the county to get supplies they needed and added 583 new clients — and that is all just in 2015. Love INC started in 1998 and has grown exponentially since its inception due to the growing need for aid programs in the county.

“Sometimes we get over 80 calls a day,” said Brady. “Clients are referred food, shelter, clothing, footwear, paper products and recently we have been offering free diapers and wipes to parents in need.”

“Love INC is a clearing house for the churches of Lapeer County,” Brady continued. “We also network between the churches, the government agencies and the needy of Lapeer. A client is referred to us or calls, then we do an intake on the client, get all the information we can, then we ask what the exact need is and then we start working on their needs. There are a lot of food pantries in Lapeer, so we send people to the ones closest to their homes.”

“We survive on donations and fundraisers,” Brady’s coworker Debi Alexander added. “So many people need help with bills or paying the security deposit to get into a new home, we can help with that.” Alexander serves as the clearinghouse coordinator at Love INC.

Brady went on, “We have a few grants that we are able to use to help the needy but with the higher number of cases we are taking on, we need more money and more volunteers.

“Love INC is broke,” Brady said plainly. “We don’t have money, we use money to help people,” she said with a smile.

Love INC sends the less fortunate to Trinity, St. Paul, St. Matthews, Grace, and more churches around the county for various supplies. If those in need require more than just supplies, Love INC can connect the needy to any number of DHS (Dept. of Human Services) case workers they work with and also the HDC thaw program.

“Whatever we at Love INC and the agencies can’t cover, the churches pick up the difference. It takes all of us to do one thing,” Brady noted to cooperative community as a driving force behind their cause. “We are here to help people whether it’s giving them food, proper clothing or helping them take care of bills. We are also trying to spread awareness of these great agencies that are out there to help.”

Just recently Love INC gave out more than 60 pairs of snow boots and snow pants in addition to the countless backpacks and school supplies they provide for students of all ages at the beginning of each semester. Over the recent holidays Love INC provided food baskets for families struggling around the holidays. Not only to volunteers get the food and assemble the baskets, but volunteers also delivered food and supplies door to door.

“We are fortunate to have the volunteers we do, including interns such as our current intern Bryana Mathews from Mott Community College and one of biggest helps, volunteer Melody Dawn. There’s ministries set up within the churches to help all of the needy; there’s a lot of people involved and we need to get even more people involved,” Brady said.

This year marks Brady’s 11th year with Love Inc. Brady owned and operated her own business (Contours Express in Deerfield Township) but then got involved with the Love INC program through her church.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Brady conceded, “but I love this work. Has it been stressful? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes!”

The stories are endless but one specific story involves a man and his 7-year-old son — they were homeless for four months. Love INC helped this man and his child get into a new home by helping pay the initial security deposit, they were able to get a roof over their heads before Christmas.

“We received 1,452 calls in November and December alone, and every one of them had many needs. Many of them needed financial help (we helped 47 families), food, paper products, clothes and diapers. They then needed food for the holidays. We were able to assist every one of our clients,” Brady said. “It is a never ending story here at Love INC.”

For more information, visit loveinc.org

To find out how you can help, call Love INC at 810-245- 2414.

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