If volunteers are the heart and hands of Love INC and donors are its blood and breath, our network of Church and Community Partners are the backbone that provides structure, strength, and support to the entire Love INC distribution system. Without our Church and Community Partners, and their selfless commitment to loving and serving people, there would be no outlets for the tons of new and gently used clothing, furniture, household items, furnishings, and products we receive and distribute each month.
The Woodburn Community Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) cares deeply for our community and is committed to making life better for people and families in the greater Woodburn area. They see partnering with Love INC as a way to meet more needs, serve more people, and have a greater impact in the lives of people and families.
“Love INC’s assistance with the operational aspects of ministry like vetting recipients, validating needs, scheduling appointments, and supplying us with quality inventory changes everything,” says Pastor Luke Self. “Connecting with people, listening to their stories, and letting them know we care is what matters most–and Love INC frees us up to focus our attention on loving and serving people.”
The SDA congregation plays two roles in Love INC’s Partner Network. First, they operate the “Baby Clothing Closet,” which distributes new and gently used clothing and blankets to infants (sizes 0 to 18 months). According to Baby Closet Coordinator, Jane Tull, “the joyful smiles and expressions of gratitude from new mothers and family members make it all worthwhile. Watching the reaction when clients see the large selection of high-quality baby clothes in our closet is priceless and Love INC plays a critical role in helping us bring great joy to these mothers and their precious babies.”
The SDA congregation is also instrumental in Love INC’s “Loads of Love” laundry ministry. They wanted to help people with laundry but weren’t sure how to make that happen. When the SDA congregation connected with Love INC, they found their answer.
A local laundromat owner had contacted Love INC, wanting to help. He offered to donate $100 (400 quarters) each month for laundry services and challenged others to follow his lead. The SDA congregation was one of the first to accept the challenge, and they now contribute $90 a month (360 quarters) to Loads of Love. Others followed suit and the owner doubled his contribution in response. At this point, Loads of Love receives nearly $600 (2400 quarters) a month to help families without access to laundry services.
Love INC policy does not allow clients to receive cash so every week, an SDA volunteer swings by Love INC to pick up quarters and then heads over to Woodburn Laundry to greet clients, check vouchers (issued by Love INC), and plug quarters into washers and dryers for people. “The laundromat is a great place to build friendships,” says Marie Stahlberg, the SDA volunteer who coordinates Loads of Love. “Where else do people have time and a place to connect with each other and spend time together without interruption?”
As a congregation, The Woodburn Community Seventh-day Adventist Church strives to be good news before they share good news; reaching out to touch the lives of those in their community. In recent years, they have knitted winter hats to give away and delivered firewood to older people in need of a home heating solution. Congregants have taken local residents to the pharmacy and paid for their prescriptions and given rides to the gas station to fill up gas tanks. The congregation has raised money for a family who lost a child and planned yard sales to raise money for an orphanage in Bangladesh.
The SDA congregation is excited about their partnership with Love INC and delighted with the way Love INC brings people of good faith together with people of good will for the good of the community. Congregational leader, Lowell Weister sums it up well, “God is concerned with the quality of human life, and everything — the way we live, eat, speak, think, treat each other, and care for the world around us -– is part of His plan. Our families, children, jobs, talents, money, and time are all important to Him.”
The Seventh-day Adventist church meets each Saturday from 9:30 to 10:40 AM at 1253 5th Street in Woodburn, with Sabbath School following at 10:50 AM. A weekly Bible study and prayer group meets at 6:30 PM on Thursdays. For additional information, visit their website. Better yet, stop in for a visit. The family worship service is somewhat traditional and everyone is welcome. From casual and comfortable to suit and tie, you won’t feel out of place!