By Michael D. Doyle
For The Herald Bulletin
Operation Love Ministries may not have a huge budget, but the power of a large volunteer group and helpful spirit help the faith-based nonprofit have a giant impact in the lives of those it seeks to help.
Operation Love is run by executive director Joy Plummer, the organization’s only full-time staff member. A small group of part-time and stipended staffers help out, but much of the work is done by volunteers from area churches. About 70 volunteers contribute on a consistent, year-round basis; many more pitch in at various times throughout the year or when opportunity arises.
More than 30 churches in Madison County are part of the Operation Love alliance.
“I guess you might say we are the hands and feet of our member churches,” Plummer said. “Because we all come together, it makes a much bigger impact than if everybody was just out there on their own.”
Operation Love provides a wide variety of services for the needy, including food assistance, financial assistance, pharmaceutical needs, emotional crisis intervention and much more.
“Our goal is not only to reach out to people who need us, but also to put them on the road back to self-sufficiency,” Plummer said. “We want to reconnect people with the church, the community, help them build connections and relationships ... really to just help people rebuild their lives.”
Because the people it helps have a wide variety of needs, Operation Love must stay adaptable. Plummer said that helping may be as simple as providing someone a ride to the hospital or offering words of encouragement.
She also finds that the volunteers that help out find solace and self-fulfillment in doing so.
“We have so many people who tell me that they have problems and discouragement in their lives and they still want to come help out,” she said. “They can help give someone hope, and in turn that makes them hopeful.”
Plummer believes it is the duty of charities like hers to help enrich the community through their work.
“Every time we make a difference in one person’s life, every time somebody volunteers to help out, that helps Madison County become an better place to live,” she said.