Group hosts fundraiser to give back to community

Kay Hinton, of the Village De La Vista, spends time shopping at Love INC in Summerfield on Wednesday. Proceeds from sales will benefit three local families who need big-cost items such as a new roof.

Thrift stores are slowly reopening and Ginger Wray is looking forward to shopping.

When the Village of Winifred resident heard Love In the Name of Christ of the Heart of Florida, or Love INC, was hosting an open-market sale to raise money for three families in need, she got into her car with a plan to shop.

These particular families needed help with some costly necessities and turned to Love INC for help. The nonprofit, located at 15797 S. U.S. Highway 441, Summerfield, is hosting an open-air market at its Centsible Furnishings store. Proceeds will benefit help the families. The market was open May 20 and 21, and Wednesday. Its final day is today. 

Its goal is to raise $10,000 to help fund three projects: fixing or replacing a vehicle so one family can continue to work, replacing a leaking roof for another family and getting water to a third family whose well stopped working. 

While Love INC can help all these families at some level through private funding from church sales, all proceeds from the open market help significantly. The first day of the sale brought in a little over $4,500, almost half of what was needed to reach the goal. 

“Love INC has always held a special place in my heart because of the staff’s loving attitude and their drive to help others,” Wray said.

The organization manages several projects throughout the year to help give back to the community. While most of the projects consist of help in the form of clothing and food drives, and monetary donations, the staff of Love INC knew this fundraiser would require something extra.

“We sat down and thought about how we could get funds to help with these projects,” said Dana Parker, Love INC executive director. “We don’t normally assist with funding for high-ticketed items like a vehicle. Instead, we normally focus on personal items and food for the families, but the conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic require extra help.”

To help raise the money needed for these particular projects, Love INC decided to open the Centsible Furnishings store earlier than originally planned.

“We had people begging us to open the store when they heard about the fundraiser,” Parker said.

Gail Raber, a volunteer and board member at Love INC, said the market has been great for community morale.

“It has been really special because people had been confined to staying at home,” the Village Santiago resident said. “Raising money for a good cause always gives pleasure, but it has been especially meaningful and healthy to the community to reopen the doors to fresh air and shopping while also supporting individuals and families in very tangible ways.”

Items for sale at the market include clothing, shoes, furniture and miscellaneous home goods. Wray came for furniture to repurpose. 

Raber said this fundraiser is important to Love INC because it gives the opportunity to show honor and love to everyone.

“It is a blessing to encourage others and brighten their days,” she said. “Some days are tougher than others, especially when influenced by circumstances out of our control like needing water because a well quit working or needing a vehicle to get to work.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, a little over $7,500 had been raised to assist with the projects.