Coat drive helps keep Yampa Valley residents warm

As Yampa Valley settles into a cool fall, Love INC, a Christian nonprofit group is looking to keep the valley's residents warm.

The group is hosting a coat drive in one of its first outreach programs.

Various organizations have held coat drives in Craig, but none of them gave the drive any annual consistency, Love INC director Pat Jones said.

Collection sites and distribution points would differ from year to year.

Jones plans to make the drive an annual event with regular distribution in Hayden and Craig.

So far, collections have been slow, Jones said. But she thought that many donors were waiting until next week to donate their coats at Loyd's Cleaners.

During that week, Betty and B.J. Barnes are offering to clean one coat at half price for each coat donated.

The INC in Love INC stands for In the Name of Christ. It is a national organization that was formed 25 years ago in Michigan.

The Yampa Valley chapter has existed for two years. It is funded through the contributions of nine churches in Hayden and Craig.

Love INC is functioning as a clearinghouse to meet valley residents' needs, Jones said.

"It's really formed us into a community," she said.

When people contact Love INC, a member records their information and puts them in touch with an organization or church that can meet their needs.

When someone contacts Love INC with a need or want that the organization cannot meet, members always are willing to listen, Jones said. No one is turned away.

Jones views Love INC's clearinghouse work as the first of three stages for the organization. She would like to see Love INC form a relational ministry.

She compared missions such as the coat drive to fixing a leak in a dam by sticking a finger in a hole.

The relational ministry would fix the dam, she said.

The last stage, which some Love INC chapters across the country have already achieved, would feature the creation of long-term physical services, such as low-cost health or eye clinics or mental health counseling centers.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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