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Love Love INC

Love INC's mission

Last night, we had the wonderful opportunity to attend Love INC's Celebration Dinner. Love INC coordinated the building of Ben's ramp this summer. Unbeknownst to the lead carpenter for the project, Steve; he was receiving a special volunteer award at the banquet. We were invited to sit with Steve and his family and also introduce Ben to the guests before they sprung the award on Steve. 

Steve with his wife, Ann and mom, June.

In the end, Steve was surprised, but with Ramp It Up! staff coordinator Keri, Steve's wife and even his own mother in on it, he had no chance. When he sat down, they quickly hid the event program from him which had his name listed as an award recipient.

After Steve received the award and sat down, I think his first words were, "I am going to get you back." Of course Steve was joking, but he is not the type of person to want his efforts flaunted in front of 300 people. He does what he does because it is his calling. Steve has only two rules for working with groups that build ramps: (1) Wiggle your 10 fingers now, before we start, and you should be able to do the same when we finish the project, and (2) If you are not here to have fun, you may please go home. 

Steve's big heart, enormous dedication and faith, genuine love for helping others combined with great coordinating and building skills make for an unbelievable volunteer and role model. Once again we are blessed to have met this person through Ben.

Although we were there for Steve, there were a few other people recognized at the banquet. Their stories were told as well. Each one of them had an important reason they started their volunteer project.

One woman told how she had difficulty conceiving a child and when she finally did welcome a little boy into her life; she became aware of how hard it was to be a mom despite the resources she had at her disposal. She came to the realization that many mothers are not as fortunate as she - no family support, no partner, no ability to get diapers or wipes and sometimes eviction is imminent. With this knowledge, she started a program to teach classes monthly for new or soon-to-be moms. She has helped almost 300 moms thus far.

Another woman told of how although she was having a great time in her Bible study class, the group was not "doing" anything. She went home and thought and prayed about what the group could do. 

At this point in the program, all the speakers had been phenomenal. Each one with incredible stories, making me laugh and cry. This specific woman in front of me was young, attractive and well dressed. She was introduced as just having gotten married two months prior. In my eyes, I had her pegged based on what I saw and what was told to me in the short introduction.

The woman continued her story about her quest to find something meaningful for the Bible study group to do. "Remember when..." is what came to her mind. With tears in her eyes, she shared with us that several years ago, she and her four children, were in a position that she could not afford toilet paper. And with remembering this, the idea for a project came to mind - provide personal hygiene items for families who cannot afford them. So simple a project, but with a huge impact. This woman shared a few stories of people she has since helped that appreciate the shampoo, toilet paper and other essentials most of us take for granted.

On the car ride home, I told Ryan that I never imagined that people in this country would have to go without toilet paper. I had never considered this. It is obviously not a fun thing to think about, but it opened my mind to what other people go through in their effort to survive and provide for their families.

* My recollection of the people and their speeches pales in comparison to the real thing. The stories were heartfelt and genuine. Each volunteer dedicated to sharing their time and talents with strangers, and they gained more than they gave through the experiences and the people they met along the way.


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