Tiffany Louzon, a Life Skills Program graduate and volunteer at Love INC, shared her story about how she saw Love in action:
Our journey with Love Inc began with an illness. When my body decided to aggressively shift from occasional migraines to chronic migraines, the path to diagnosis came at a steep cost. Add to that not having a savings account or a budget we stuck to, and we were soon in distress. I remember the day I met Mary, our case worker at Love INC. It was the last day of the month and we were about to be two months behind on our mortgage. The pit in my stomach was aching from the state of our finances, but it was made worse as I sat in the car outside the Love Inc office thinking of how I was going to have to swallow my pride, hang my head in defeat, and ask for help. It felt like I was marching up to a firing squad where I would be humiliated and then probably told we were beyond help.
As I walked into the office, I was greeted by a sincere face who offered me chocolate!
As I poured out our story to Mary, I was met with empathy that I had only dreamed of. She truly understood what I was going through, and gave me absolutely no judgment.
Before I left that first day, we had a small plan in place to tackle the next few weeks. I left with bags full of food and a genuine sense that things would be okay-not immediately, but soon.
We attended our first weeks of classes in the Life Skills Program, where we started learning and tracking our spending. Our teachers were compassionate and knowledgeable. They questioned us with genuine care and never made us feel inadequate over mistakes.
We received food every week from a local church pantry. It helped us keep things as normal as possible when it came to providing groceries for our family.
We earned weekly vouchers for gas to help lighten the cost of transportation. We were never treated oddly as we paid for our gas with a different piece of paper than most.
When it was time for an oil change, we were able to earn a voucher for that service. Again, we were met with compassion and grace as we paid with a piece of paper instead of money.
When our vehicle decided to have issues as most do from time to time, we were guided to anther mechanic who worked with us to fix it and give us a fair price that we could work to pay off. Not a free deal, but a fair deal.
As the weather turned colder, we were invited to come and pick out winter wear for our family. An expense taken for granted in the past. We left that day with bags full of warm coats, boots, gloves and hats-and a feeling of warmth knowing out kids would be protected from the cold that winter.
As Christmas approached, we heard word of the Christmas store provided by Love Inc. Once again, we were greeted with dignity and friendship as we came as a family to pick out gifts for each other. We were amazed at the choices we were able to pick from for our children. To the outside world, no one would know that we didn’t have enough money for gifts those years. The boys were also excited when they found out they could pick out gifts for us as well. My son Aaron picked out a set of reindeer antlers and a red nose for my gift to adorn our van. He was so excited to give it to me, but insisted we wait until Christmas. Even after we had lost both antlers to the wind, we drove our van with the red nose for months until we sold it.
We were given wonderful food baskets for those holidays where food is central. What a blessing to be able to provide the key pieces to our families traditions.
As our boys kept growing in the time that we were a part of the Life Skills program, we were given the opportunity to receive clothing from a local clothing pantry. The clothes were in great condition and filled our needs as they grew.
Our boys were given a scholarship to go to a Christian summer camp. This was something I had dreamed of for them but never thought I would see come to fruition due to cost. They still talk of memories from camp and their loving counselors from time to time.
As the school year approached, we were provided with grade-specific school supplies and new school clothes. Again, these were not what I had expected to receive from an organization. They were name brand, on trend clothes and supplies provided to our children so that they would not feel ashamed at the start of the school year.
Our weekly classes were a time of learning more about God and doing so in a community of people who were in similar situations as ourselves. It was a unique time of community and growth that cannot be replicated.
Our time with our mentor each week is something Brian and I will both cherish for the rest of our lives. He was truly the hands and feet of Jesus to us. He taught us so much about finances, guiding us through our budget, helping us make decisions, celebrating successes with us, and praying over us each week.
There are so many other things that Love Inc helped us achieve and learn in the year and a half in the program, but you came here to laugh so I’ll keep it short.
In the end, we were able to pay off over $11,000 in credit card debt thanks to the guidance and assistance of the program.
We can pay bills now without fear
We can share our story with anyone without shame and encourage others to get help if needed.
And we continue to work and grow as a family to keep our finances in control, thankful for all that God provides us with. We share our time and resources with those when we can.
Thank you for your part in this ministry. The Louzon family is forever thankful for each person who gave and continues to give of their time, skills, donations and money to such a wonderful program. Love In the Name of Christ truly lives up to its name
Love LOVES AS CHRIST LOVES
The Louzon Family at Love INC’s Annual Fundraising Dinner, Love Laugh’s, in November 2019.