Founded in 1985, Love INC of Tanana Valley has grown to mobilize 66 churches, putting over 900 volunteers into service in the Fairbanks area. Coordinated ministry opportunities include a Transportation Program, Quality of Life Education & Mentoring, an Adopt-A-Family program, and other ministries to fill the gaps including Personal Needs Closets, Cleaning Supplies, Kitchen Items, Bedding, a Diaper Bin, Firewood Projects, a Furniture Bank, and much more.
Three years ago, however, they began what may be their most innovative program yet. In collaboration with 13 churches in the area, their Loving Families rotating homeless shelter enables families to stay together while they hit reset. During the 90-day program, each family receives the caring support needed to learn new life skills and find stable employment, housing, and transportation.
In order to make this endeavor as simple as possible for each church, Love INC of Tanana Valley developed a rotating structure and materials that not only guide each church through the requirements of hosting, but include vision casting, volunteer recruitment, and training videos. Each week, volunteers from a host church set up a safe space for four families in transition. Volunteers from host churches provide meals and companionship for seven days at a time. It’s a small act with an incredible impact—for those serving and receiving alike.
Over the years, many great stories of transformation have arisen, yet one of their favorites was also one of
Lorraine and her two high school-age sons had lived in their car in the Walmart parking lot for months before reaching out to Love INC for help. They’d navigated temperatures of 40 below zero and managed to get by on the very part time hours she put in as a nurse assistant, but when the transmission went out on her car, it was the last straw. In Love INC of Tanana Valley’s Loving Families program she not only received help finding a job, but the life skills education she needed to manage her income, set goals, and make good decisions. Determined and hardworking, she went on to earn a full-time position and even became a manager. Her success didn’t stop there, though. After completing the program she has stopped by to encourage families who are struggling to finish the program, has even connected with a hosting church, and now volunteers in the Loving Families program.
Love INC of Tanana Valley’s Loving Families program is helping families overcome obstacles and get back on their feet. It’s a creative and resourceful ministry that is responding to the unique needs of their community.
We’re so grateful for innovative leaders like Jason Kempthorne, Love INC of Tanana Valley’s Executive Director, and his team who are following God’s lead for Love INC in their context.