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A help up not a hand out

Weiser Signal American of Weiser, Idaho

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There's a lot more to this business than collecting food for the pantry. Love INC covers a variety of needs for the community and they offer it with a little bit of patience and prayer.

Love in the Name of Christ, or Love INC, has been in the Weiser community for about three years. They branched off from the Ontario location and they fill many needs in the community. It's not just about giving out donations of clothes, food and furniture, it's also about educating people to help them get into better situations.

The group is holding an educational meeting about what they do on Thursday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is for anyone interested in the history, mission and visions of the organization but they are also looking for volunteers.

The Executive Director for the Weiser branch, Pam Burris, explained that they don't advertise what they do a lot because of the churches that help pitch in. They are also very frugal with their funds and donations so they can reach more people.

"We have to have a minimum of six churches of different denominations, once we had more than six established we were able to start the affiliate and our community has had a strong support base," Burris said.

The biggest focus on the organization is about giving a hand up instead of hand outs. This year will mark the one year anniversary of the enrichment classes Love INC offers. Clients who receive help with food or other donations are offered classes that help them with budgets, recovery and other life skills. Clients are asked to participate in these classes for continuing services.

"We want to make sure everyone can stand on their own," Burris said. "We want to make sure the resources aren't going to those that use the system. It's not the majority but it helps nip it in the bud."

Love INC in a lot of ways acts like a middle man. They connect the people with the resources that the community offers. The group helps churches maximize their resources by giving each church certain items to collect for donations. They also encourage those in the community who need help to classes like Celebrate Recovery that could help with bigger issues that keep people from being able to stand on their own.

"There are a few (people) who don't need help anymore but they stop in for support and prayers," Burris said. "The goal is to get them to not need us anymore."

Burris compared the idea to helping someone who falls down to the ground. You can offer a blanket and pillow to someone who might be laying on the ground and you can cater to all their needs. The later option that Love INC tries to provide is healing that person and helping them back onto their feet.

"We want to meet those needs but we want to go beyond that," Burris said.

Burris said that sometimes people focus too much on one need and find themselves in tunnel vision. Usually when families or people find themselves in a pinch they have more than one need that Love INC can help with. They meet with the clients first and find out what needs they can cover and connect them with those resources.

Sometimes the hardest part of the job is telling people they can't help them, it doesn't happen often but sometimes they use a tough love approach for those who won't reach out for the help. Burris said the biggest reward is seeing a person who has worked themselves out of a position of need. The volunteers and workers of Love INC pray for guidance when it comes to making tough decisions but in the long run that work usually pays off.

"It's awesome seeing a complete success. We've had people trying to finish school graduate and get good jobs," Burris said.

Love INC recently held their second Gala in February and raised over $7, 000. The support they have received since they've been established in town has been enough to keep them going. Many of those who attended donated more than the cost for dinner. They also recruited monthly donors who help them budget and plan out their monthly expenses. Those consistent monthly gifts are what help carry the organization throughout the year.

Much of the help the organization receives are from word of mouth. The clients they receive find them from referrals from friends, families and churches. The hours and effort the volunteers donate to Love INC helps also keep the organization strong in the community. For more information you can contact Love INC at 208-414-LOVE or email at

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Original Publication Date: March 13, 2013

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