Ask and you shall receive -- Love INC here to help

Officials from Love INC of the Yampa Valley ask two basic questions of people who come to them for assistance: How can we help and may we pray for you?

The success rate for both is high, said Pat Jones, executive director of the charitable organization that serves parts of Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt and Jackson counties.

"Nine times out of 10 God finds a way to do something for them," Jones said.

At the beginning of August, the nonprofit, nondenominational Love INC moved from cramped quarters at St. Michael's Catholic Church to a home at 656 School St.

Jones said the home, doubling as the group's headquarters, is better suited for the group's mission -- to mobilize churches and local agencies to meet the unmet needs of the community.

Those unmet needs include a variety of charitable efforts.

"It could be financial. It could be transportation," Jones said. "People can ask for whatever their greatest need is."

By partnering with eight local churches and collaborating with more than 20 local service agencies, Love INC was able to serve 1,069 people in 2005. Nearly half of those served, 448, were children 18 years old and younger.

While the group takes pride in assisting those in difficult circumstances, Jones cautions that the group doesn't exist to solve problems. She also said that Love INC is not an emergency assistance organization.

When someone calls in with a problem, Love INC takes time to review it and then tackle it thoroughly, the executive director said.

"We have to make sure there is a legitimate need," Jones said.

"We try to be careful because we don't want to take the problem away from them," she said. "It's still their problem, we just want to help them."

And helping people is what Love INC is all about.

The group is in the midst of Project School Supply, a drive to outfit area children with backpacks and necessary supplies for class. Backpacks with supplies such as pencils, crayons, notebooks and other supplies may be delivered to the School Street office between 2 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The group has two more events planned for coming weeks designed to do just that.

Beginning Aug. 29, the group will offer budget classes, which are scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. One-on-one counseling sessions will run from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

A meal and child care will be provided. Arrangements must be made two days in advance.

From Sept. 7 to Oct. 7, Love INC will begin asking area residents for "good, gently used" coats to donate to the needy. Last year, the group collected more than 500 coats, mittens, gloves and hats, which were distributed at sites in Hayden, Rangely and Craig.

Anyone who wants to donate a coat may drop it off at the Love INC office between 2 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or take them to Loyd's Cleaners, 552 Breeze St. in Craig, 600 Main St. in Meeker, or 189 S. Walnut St. in Hayden.

For more information, call Love INC at 826-4400.

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