By John Burton
HIGHLANDS – Love INC has been helping those in need in Monmouth County for nearly two decades. But as so many continue to struggle to recover from Sandy, the work the organization does is needed, “now more than ever,” said Carolyn Eyerman, executive director.
Love In the Name of Christ, a faith-based charitable organization and facilitator, is planning a furniture sale for April 6-7 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Church, 121 Miller St. Eyerman said this would especially benefit those in the county’s Bayshore area who are still recovering from Super Storm Sandy. As an added benefit, the organization will offer free delivery for anyone living in the Bayshore who makes a purchase. Love INC is now seeking furniture donations to bolster its inventory for the upcoming sale.
The organization will pick up the donations free and provide a tax-deduction receipt. Shoppers will discover that furnishings, while used, are of the highest order and at affordable prices.
“They like the idea they’re helping someone and they get a tax benefit,” Eyerman said of those donating. “And it’s helping Monmouth County residents.
“So it’s a win-win-win,” she said.
The furniture sale at Our Lady of Perpetual Help is an extension of the organization’s Furnished With Love, a retail operation at 583 Broadway, Long Branch, which the organization has been running since 1998. Along with couches, chairs, tables and other used furniture items, the store features new beds, including bunk beds and box springs at prices lower than customers would find in commercial retail outlets, she said.
As for the furniture, “because we live in a relatively affluent area,” Eyerman observed, “it’s amazing what you get.”
The goal of the store and the organization is, of course, to help those in Monmouth County who find themselves in need.
Shelia Starosolsky appreciated what Love INC offered as she sought a new bed, when her home was flooded and damaged by Sandy.
Starosolsky lives in the Belford section of Middletown, and her home sustained structural damage along with flooding from an area creek, which engulfed her basement, damaging her hot water heater, furnace and electrical system, when water rose an inch or two below her first floor. Along with her home, her car and her daughter’s car were damaged by the high water.
After spending about five days in an area hotel with her daughter and foster children, she looked to put her life back in order, and prioritized how she spent money. “Let me get what’s important,” for now, she said, noting she needed to replace her daughter’s bed, ruined by the flood.
Through her church, Kings Highway Faith Fellowship, she learned about Love INC, and bought a bed through its sale in Atlantic Highlands. “It was something that I could afford,” Starosolsky said.
The county branch of Love INC, a national organization, was established in 1998, by Eyerman and others. Their mission is to coordinate resources available through various churches and religious organizations and those offered by county government to assist county residents.
Love INC also stresses ecumenical and spiritual components to its work believing that would, “help them emotionally as well as practically,” Eyerman said.
Today, Love INC, with offices in Eatontown, works with more than 100 churches and 84 agencies helping to screen applicants and directing them toward available programs, as well as offering assistance. “We’re kind of a bridge between the two,” she said.
In 2012, Love INC gave away approximately $20,000 worth of furniture, and served about 2,417 people who contacted the organization seeking help.
As people continue to struggle in Sandy’s aftermath, organizations like the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will start to pull back as time progresses. “It’s the organizations like ourselves who will be helping for what will probably be a couple of years of recovery,” Eyerman said, noting there has been an increase in calls from people in need.
“I would recommend anyone needing help to reach out to them,” Starosolsky said. “Because they’re there to help and assist in any way that they can.”
To learn more about Love INC, visit their website at loveincnj.org.
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