Faces in the Crowd: John Ligtenberg
In this week’s Faces in the Crowd, we meet the executive director of Love Inc. of the Black Hills, John Ligtenberg.
John was born and raised in Rapid City. After college he was a bit lost, so his pastor encouraged him to work at the church. There, he worked with people from all walks of life and practiced benevolence to those in need.
By fate, he heard about Love Inc., a national program that helps people in need connect to the community. John made the decision to get the program started locally in 2000. He began talks with national organizers and locals interested in helping.
Love Inc. started with 10 partner churches. The process began by taking phone calls for items like furniture, then flourished into connecting people’s needs with resources.
The nonprofit has been in the community for 17 years and has now grown to include about 60 churches to help the greater Rapid City, Sturgis, and Whitewood areas, offering not only immediate needs like furniture and food, but meaningful relationships. And rather than just giving someone a gift, people earn what they receive by volunteering.
Beginning in 2005, the organization began offering Life Inc. classes that include learning skills like financial management, food shopping, and cooking. Classes are free, with a meal and childcare included.
John says its thanks to the hundreds of volunteers that make the organization so successful.
Love Inc. recently gained the Thrive Store, which gives area youth job experience and a sense of community.
For more information on Love Inc. click here.