MILLERSBURG — The Love INC chapter of Greater Holmes County will hold its first fundraising banquet on Sept. 15 from 5-8 p.m. at the Harvest Ridge Expo Center.

The organization, which partners with over 40 local churches, stands for Love In the Name of Christ and exists to provide a network of aid for needy community members, according to Vicki Conn, director of Love INC GHC.

"Our mission statement is to mobilize the church to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ," said Conn. "We’re here in the community in Holmes County so families can call us if they’re in need of support or resources. We just hear their story and try to figure out who we can connect them to to help them through their situation."

This aid comes in the form of resources from churches and different agencies in the community, Conn said, adding that it’s still the churches that perform a task or provide a service.

"Our ultimate goal is to work with the local churches so that it’s still the churches doing the work and it’s still the churches doing the serving," Conn said. "We just provide opportunities for that to happen."

This is the first time the organization will host  its own fundraiser, Conn said.

"We are also just very excited to share about Love INC, what is going on, what a lot of church volunteers and a lot churches are doing, and just the impact that it’s having in the community. Conn added.

About 25 local businesses, churches and individuals have sponsored the banquet, so Love INC is able to offer the meal at no charge.

There is no income requirement for a family or individual to access their services, meaning anyone who is in need may contact them, Conn said. Love INC GHC covers all residents of Holmes County plus anyone who attends one of its partner churches.

While the banquet is free of charge, any donations that are collected will fund these efforts.

Church partnerships take many forms, according to Conn. They can be financial support, volunteers or gap ministries, where churches create programs or ministries based on what is needed in the community.

Part of the banquet programming will include creative testimonials from those who have been impacted by their experiences with Love INC.

"We have a lot of testimonials from families who’ve been helped," Conn said, "and testimonials from volunteers, as well. Hopefully, we’ll create a pretty powerful picture of the body of Christ working together.

"We’re really looking forward to sharing about it all and updating people about some of the new things that are going on," Conn added.

Love INC, which has helped over 700 families and individuals meet a variety of needs in the first two quarters of 2018, receives an average of roughly 30 new callers per month in search of resources or help, Conn said. She said the most common thing callers are concerned about is housing and rent issues.

"Our heart is to help families move forward," Conn said. "So, it’s more the idea of a hand up, not a handout."

But Love INC doesn’t just walk away from those it helps, but also works with families to build better financial habits.

The organization also has classes that focus on financial stability and budgeting, among other topics. A class called ‘Faith & Finances’ begins Sept. 10. And runs through Nov. 26.

The group’s fundraiser will include a silent auction from 5-6 p.m. Tickets to the Amish Country Theatre, overnight stays at the Berlin Grande Resort and Hotel Millersburg, a 170-piece tool set, mattresses and more will be available for bidding. Live entertainment, ministry displays and live worship also will be a part of the programming for the banquet.

To reserve a seat, RSVP by calling Love INC at 330-473-6017, email loveincofghc@gmail.com, or register online at loveincofghc/org/events.