History

1977 – First Love INC founded in Holland, Michigan, by Good Samaritan Center Director, Dr. Virgil Gulker.

1981 – An advisory committee is established in Muskegon to consider developing a Love INC.

1982 – Love INC of Muskegon opened for business on April 21 with a commitment from 12 churches.  Marvin G. Baker is first Executive Director with his office located at Fellowship Reformed Church.  Phone volunteers answered calls at a desk in the foyer of the Rescue Mission at 400 Laketon Avenue.  Board of directors include President George Arwady, Secretary, Joan Vriesman, Treasurer, Ruth Schrier, Dr. Harry Arthur, Larry Brossiet, Alice Casler, Ed DeJong, Don Egeler, Jay Karow, Maxine Lenear, Thomas Linck, and Rev. Sherwin Weener… Food bank sites were located at Bethany CRC, Mission for Area People, Salvation Army, Montague UMC, Ravenna UMC, Central Lutheran, Rescue Mission, Jackson Hill Baptist and Lebanon Lutheran.

1983 – In July, the offices were combined at the “Cornerstone Building”, 1218 Getty.  Love INC selected as clearing house for all direct service agencies.

1984 – 149 churches participating.  Family Support System program is born.  DSS caseworker placed at Love INC.

1985 – Love INC of Muskegon takes possession of the West Shore Mental Health Center on March 1, at 2525 Hall Rd.  Food requests constituted 65% of the calls and other pantry partners are established at Twin Lake UMC, Cedar Creek Covenant, Central Assembly of God, E. Muskegon CRC, Fruitport CRC, Sacred Heart Catholic, Queen Esther Baptist, Lakeside Baptist, First Christian, St. Jean Catholic and First Evangelical Lutheran.  Clothing closets are at Bethany CRC, Lakeside Assembly of God, M.A.P., Adventist Community Center, Ferry Memorial and Ravenna U.M.C.  Layettes are handled by Mona Shores Baptist and Woodmere Church of God.  Personal Needs are met by First Baptist. Household items are handled by First Congregational U.C.C.  Other services included furniture, housing, medical & dental, repairs and construction, seasonal services, transportation and utility assistance.

1985- On May 19th, Virgil Gulker reviewed his dream in the Muskegon Chronicle that stated, “The goal falls back to 1976, when I [Gulker] began developing Love INC.” Working in Holland, he was frustrated with the churches’ lack of contact with people who were hurting, hungry, or homeless. “My motto was, ‘I will not help anyone, instead, the church will provide the helping hand.'”

1989 – Dr. Marvin Baker resigns as Executive Director; Don Egeler appointed as Interim E. D.

1990 – 1993, (Interim in 2002) – Harold McAllister serves as Executive Director.  A crib ministry begins with Calvin CRC

1993 – 2000 – Don Wood is Executive Director.  Love INC begins a Ramp Ministry and youth work camps in the summer.

1997 – A new building called the “John and Nellie Bytwerk Volunteer Center” was built and dedicated honoring the deep commitment to Love INC of Muskegon by the Bytwerks.

2000 – 2002  – Ed Cohea serves as Executive Director.

2002 – 2004 – Bob Posthumus serves as Executive Director.

2002- Love INC of Muskegon begins a transformational Budgeting Ministry called New Directions.  The emphasis changes from being an emergency service agency to a ministry providing long-term care and case management. A resource developer/clearinghouse coordinator is added to staff. Project Ramp celebrates 10 years with 24 ramp builds.

2004 – Gail Kraft is appointed Executive Director.  The board approves a new mission statement “Transforming Lives In the Name of Christ Through the Church”. A part-time bookkeeper is added to staff.

2005 – Love INC adds Parenting, Values, Bible Study and Life Skills classes to New Directions Ministry.  Much help is given to victims of the Katrina hurricane.  Love INC & Friends begins a weekly TV show on a Comcast local cable station.  Banks and Credit Unions partner with Love INC in our Budgeting ministry.  New food pantries are added and a second household pantry is developed through Calvin CRC. A relational ministries coordinator is hired part-time.

2006 – The Budgeting Ministry expan A ds from one site at Forest Park Covenant Church to three sites including Bethany CRC and Fifth Reformed.  A Baby Pantry at Immanuel Lutheran and a Personal Care Pantry at New Life in Christ are added.  A bike ministry begins at Calvin CRC.

2007-We celebrated 25 years of helping the hurting in Muskegon county! Our banners are changed showing that we are Love in the Name of Christ, not Love Incorporated.

2008 – More sites for budgeting and parenting at Immanuel Lutheran, First Reformed of Ravenna and the Transitional Living Center.

2010 – January – Opened for business at our current location in the Community Ministry Center, 2735 E. Apple Ave., the former Gospel Communications Building

2010 – Added Parenting classes at Samuel Lutheran Church.  Partnered with Holton Community Center to provide Manage Your Money classes and food pantry assistance.

2011 – Began appliance ministry with grant through Mercy Health Partners to assist over 40 families annually with a stove or refrigerator. Hampton Farms Family Fun Fall Festival is added. Relational ministries coordinator is now full-time. A Christmas store is added where Manage your Money certificate holders can now shop for 10 cents on the dollar.

2012 –  New Directions ministry seeking to grow its Developmental model with Jobs for Life ministry – board working on 3-year strategic plan with the expansion of ministries both in scope and geographically as initiatives.

2013 – Matt Kaley is appointed Executive Director.  Jobs for Life has its first class at 1st Congregational Church graduating (8) people.  Port City Church begins a Personal Care Pantry.  Celebration Church takes over our Layette Ministry.

2014- Swing 4 Charity Golf Scramble and Pamper Room is added to our events.

2015 & 2016- Revisions to our New Directions program begin to take shape where a complete overhaul of the program begins. The program becomes comprehensive, change-oriented, and incentive-based. Our Christmas store began using points for purchases. Two part-time assistants were added for the Clearinghouse and Transformational ministries. We have 14 food pantries, 4 personal care pantries, baby pantry, household pantry, bike ministry, layette pantry, furniture ministry, ramp ministry, and pack and play ministry, among others.

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