‘Help is on the way!’ More assistance for those impacted by COVID-19

Volunteers from Love INC hand out toiletry bags to those in need.
Volunteers from Love INC hand out toiletry bags to those in need.(Jason Kempthorne)
Published: Feb. 27, 2021 at 6:35 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -It’s been almost a year since the first COVID-19 case was discovered in Alaska and non-profits like Love In the Name of Christ, or Love INC, have had a busy year.

“Love INC never shut down,” Jason Kempthorne, the Executive Director of Love Inc said. “We started immediately working and realized the churches had a role in the pandemic and tried to figure out what the best solution was.”

Kempthorne says they began distributing toiletries, cleaning supplies, and food boxes into the community, followed by CARES Act money.

“This last summer Love INC distributed $3,500,000 to folks that lived in the city of Fairbanks and North Pole to help with rent and utilities,” Kempthorne said.

Now Love INC wants Interior Alaska to know more help is on the way.

“One of the things we are working with now is Golden Valley [Electric.]” Kempthorne said. “[They] stepped up and did a benevolent fund.”

GVEA's Benevolent Fund of $250,000 will go to those who need financial assistance with their...
GVEA's Benevolent Fund of $250,000 will go to those who need financial assistance with their electric bills.(Jason Kempthorne)

Currently, Love INC is in charge of distributing $250,000 for anyone who is behind on their electric bills.

“People can call in and supply us with documentation of their past due bills and we can work to pay towards [them.]” Kempthorne said.

Beyond electric bills, Kempthorne wants residents to know this is the last week to apply for rent relief through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

The program, run by the Alaska Housing Relief, provides up to 12 months of financial assistance to qualifying renters who have directly or indirectly lost income or experienced increased expenses due to the pandemic and for those who live in certain unhealthy housing conditions, including overcrowding or at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault.

But you have to act quickly, that program’s application period ends on Friday, March 5th. You can find more information at the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s website.

“Beyond financial assistance Love Inc. has a furniture bank, we have a family shelter. So for folks who are experiencing homelessness they can get into that.” Kempthorne said, mentioning both places are COVID safe.

Love INC also provides firewood, bedding, household items, diapers, laundry vouchers, gas cards, bus passes, Rx prescriptions, winter gear, dental care, and classes dealing with finances, rental, employment, and life goals.

Love INC does not have an income cap and urges anyone in need to apply.

Kempthorne says the non-profit is a volunteer-run organization and is in need of people to help.

“We are always looking for folks to come in and answer the phone and help out and connect with those in need. It’s a great way for folks to get out, everything is COVID friendly,” Kempthorne added.

If you are able to help financially, Love INC is hosting their annual ‘Agape Dinner’ virtually this year.

The event is normally a night of fancy attire in a ballroom full of food served on platters, but this year, like many things, it will be virtual.

“Folks can call in and see what Love INC is doing, see some stories from former clients and volunteers. We just want to share what we are doing in the community and asking folks for support that night.” Kempthorne said, “we are funded by the community here and we want to remain that way.”

The Virtual Agape Dinner will be held March 4th at 7 pm on Facebook Live on the Love INC event page.

Anyone interested in applying for assistance, volunteering, or donating items or money can call Love INC at 452-LOVE or visit their website.

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