By Monica Cane
Doug Montandon has been cutting his teeth so to speak in his new position as Executive Director of Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) a Christ centered organization compiled of a network of local churches that help meet the essential needs of people in the community.
Montandon assumed his new role in October of this year after former director Steve Parsons retired. Since then, the faith based liaison which connects people in need to the appropriate ministries and agencies that can provide proper assistance has been somewhat under construction preparing for new and exciting things to come in 2016.
"We are going to be rolling out a new strategic plan for long term help for families in the community" says Montandon.
The various strategies presently under consideration all include some manner of increased participation with Love INC’s partner churches in order to better work together when it comes to meeting the essential needs of community members.
"In the past we had a much broader offering with our partnerships. Moving forward, we are not trying to narrow our focus but work with our partners in a strategic way, which will allow our partner churches the opportunity to celebrate something very significant."
Presently, Love INC is fleshing out a 3-tier plan for community support which includes:
1) Sustaining strategic partner relationships with churches and ministries that will contribute to the Love INC mission of demonstrating the love of Christ through meeting basic needs such as food, shelter and economic self-sufficiency.
2) Activating church members who desire to serve members of the community with whatever gifts and talents the Lord has given them.
3) Involving all partner churches in a one day outreach to better assess needs and to better them.
While the 3-teir plan is straight forward, Montandon shares some of the challenges he is addressing at this time.
"This community isn't the inner city where the needs are great. The frequency is much different here so keeping individuals who desire to serve engaged and fired up to that capacity can be a challenge. For example, someone may want to give rides to people [as a way to serve] but rides aren't always needed every day. So how do I keep those people engaged in a way that is meaningful and so that they are contributing to the mission" he says.
When considering options for a one day out reach Montandon is looking into the possibility of having Christmas in July for kids that are less fortunate. However the challenge he faces is that most people want to give during the holidays but families have needs all year round.
"Why not do something at a different time of year and celebrate the community in a way that’s not the norm" he suggests.
Although Love INC is in a transition time which often creates a lull, Montandon is extremely excited about the future of Love In the name of Christ,
"We are working with some really great constituents in the community and things are picking up."
As details are finalized for 2016, Montandon and all those involved with Love INC Including Brandy Clark from the Manteca Senior Center who is the “hub of Love INC’s Christmas program this year,” want to assure the members of the community that they are completely operational and are available for referrals to their partner churches should there be a need.
If you or someone you know are in need of assistance or if you are interested in becoming a Love INC volunteer, call 209.825.9131.