Program Gives Those in Need a BREAK

By: Christy Hendricks

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Coming out of the holiday, many people may feel the extra stress this time of year.  For some, the financial constraints of the season take a toll.  That's why one local organiztion is working to give folks a break.
Just a few months ago Koreena Woodson couldn't start her car and get around.
"Car repairs with the price of gas was devastational so I couldn't get my car fixed," Woodson said.
So she turned to an organization called Love, INC.
"Love In the Name of Christ is a ministry that exists to coordinate church volunteers and church ministries to meet the needs of people in the community," said Eva Hillis, executive director of Love, INC.
Hillis oversees the growing 21 church program which offers a client call center nine hours a week.
Volunteers take information, verify it, and find the help people need.
They recently began the BREAK program which stands for Businesses Ready to Encourage through Acts of Kindness.
"If we can find people who are willing to either donate parts or maybe give them at a reduced cost, businesses that could donate things like oil changes, maybe meal vouchers, maybe an HVAC company," Hillis said.
The folks who make up the BREAK program are local business owners, people like Mike Ruppel, the owner of Ruppel Auto Service in Jackson, who help one person at a time with a little extra boost.
"I've always wanted to help people, but sometimes you get overwhelmed about so many people need help and so where do you start?" said Ruppel. "Our pastor one time talked about that and he said 'You just start one person at a time' and so this is a way for me to do it one person at a time."
Working within Love INC provides a safety net for businesses.
"Through Love INC they kinda act as a clearing house you know so it's not like people walking up to your store everyday trying to do something," Ruppel said. "These people just are sent to us after they go through Love INC.
"They don't have to make the decisions anymore about who's legitimate and who's not, who they should help," Hillis said. 
That piece of mind helps businesses make a big difference in someone's life.
"In these times it's very surprising," Woodson said. "It never ceases to amaze me but it's great to know that you do have help you know as long as you're out there and show an initiative to try.  There is someone out there to help you keep going."
To contact Love INC for assistance, call 573-334-5055.

For those interested in volunteering or providing services, visit www.loveincsemo.org.