The premise of RISE is straightforward: community members can donate furniture they no longer need, which is then repaired or repurposed by volunteers and sold on the showroom floor. The real beauty of the program, however, is found in its service to others.
Love in the Name of Christ, or Love INC, has been part of the Rapid City community for over two decades, but only recently opened the doors on their newest ministry: RISE Furnishing and Decor. The storefront celebrated one year of business in December 2021, but opening day was years in the making.
A little over four years ago, a small steering committee got together after a staff member expressed a desire to change their warehouse ministry. At the time, those in need could apply for assistance through Love INC, including earning items such as linens and furnishings for their home. The process included working a certain number of volunteer hours assisting with cleaning, administrative duties, or anything else the staff needed. The committee wanted to take the ministry to the next level by offering to teach valuable skills.
“We just got together and started thinking, how do we reform this ministry so we actually provide opportunities for people not only to earn things, but to give them skills like learning to sew, or upholster, or paint,” says Pam Reed, a volunteer at RISE. “We felt that by doing that, we dignified the entire process.”
It all starts with a phone call
When you come in the doors at RISE, you feel as though you’re walking onto the showroom floor of an upscale furniture boutique. Every piece of furniture is staged to help you visualize how they might fit into your own space, including accessories and linens. The store is open every day for viewing, but you can only purchase pieces on Saturdays. All proceeds from the store go toward Love INC’s ongoing work to help people in our community. But what’s more important is the transformation that happens behind the scenes — for the furniture, but also the program participants.
Jerolyn Gibson is a volunteer at RISE, and she’s seen the impact of the program firsthand. “A lot of times, we have people come to us who don’t want to be here. Some won’t even really look at us, at first,” she says. “What helps them open up is just working side by side with someone. We’re not here to interrogate or question or judge anyone. But when you’re paired with someone, and just focused on the work, it becomes natural to talk and open up and become friends.”
John Ligtenberg, the Executive Director of Love INC, wholeheartedly agrees with Jerolyn. “The call to our connection center is where it starts,” he says, “but that’s not where we want it to end. We hope that from there, maybe when a church helps deliver our participants’ furniture, they find community there, or they want to come back and volunteer with us. Or maybe while they’re here, we connect with them with classes that we offer. We’re always trying to help open the door to the next step.”
The purpose of Love INC is to walk alongside people on their journey, no matter where they are or where they’ve been. It’s about showing love to one another by reminding us all that we are important and have something to offer. At RISE, love looks a lot like creating connections by learning, working, and serving together.
Whether you’re seeking assistance, or feel called to volunteer, you can call Love INC at 605-718-5683 or visit them online at loveinconline.com.