For 38 years, Love INC has provided help to the needy in Genesee County. According to Judd Judkins, Executive Director, the nonprofit, nationally-based church-networking organization was founded in Holland, MI by Virgil Gaulker, whose plan was simple and effective: match churches with the needy. His plan included creating a central clearing office to screen requests, eliminate duplicated services between community agencies and churches, and facilitate collaboration and shared resources among those in the Love, INC network. And while many people would think “INC” stands for “incorporated,” it doesn’t; it stands for “In the Name of Christ,” Judkins states.
Love INC Flint was the second affiliate established and opened its doors in October 1981, working with Genesee County churches to help families in need. Now, there are locations in states all around the country and six locations in Kenya. The organizations are all managed by an executive director and governed by a board of directors.
“We take care of the needy – with food, clothing, personal items – anything we have the opportunity to do.”
Judkins began volunteering for Love INC in 2009 after retiring from General Motors. He then became chairman of the board and is now the executive director. “I have a gift for helping people who need help,” he shares. “We take care of the needy – with food, clothing, personal items – anything we have the opportunity to do.” He and longtime volunteer, Frank Murdough, run the clearinghouse and there are two volunteers who screen referrals. Judkins also attends meetings with various local organizations to build partnerships.
Love INC works using a three-level model. Level 1 is the clearinghouse, where they receive requests for help and assess the need. The second level involves helping individuals and families in chronic need make lasting life changes. In Level 3, churches address the deeper issues that contribute to poverty, such as lack of affordable housing, health care and employment opportunities.
Love Inc. Mission Statement
“To mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities In the Name of Christ.”
Each day, Love INC Flint receives about 40-50 calls. They don’t do in-person interviews, Judkins explains. “Everything is done by telephone. We do the interview to see what the person’s needs are and then make a referral to churches and other service organizations that provide assistance.” Love INC works with 40-plus churches throughout Genesee County and with 37 agencies. Resource opportunities include: food pantries, clothing closets, personal needs, financial assistance (if available) including energy bills, evictions, waters bills, household needs, baby needs, back-to-school needs and help for the holidays. Recently, they have been receiving calls from workers on strike who are trying to get by. “Our job is to get any person or family in need on the upside,” says Judkins.
During the holiday season, the needs are even greater. Love INC will make referrals to churches that provide food baskets. And, churches also contact Love INC for needy families they can assist. “We let the churches do the ministry and we find the people for them.”
Both Judkins and Murdough are passionate about the services they provide. “It’s a passion,” Judkins says. “I’ve seen how those who need help and can’t get it turn to alcohol or drugs. I’ve seen the worst. When we help someone, that is when we get the joy and the love.”
For more information, visit loveincofgcc.org
Clearing house: 810.235.4990
Photography by Kayce McClure