Helping those in need in Tinley Park is the objective of a joint effort among eight churches in the village that are working with an international nonprofit organization.

Started in 1977 in Michigan, Love In the Name of Christ, or Love INC, has established affiliates around the country and overseas that offer temporary shelter for the homeless, food, help with planning a household budget and other services.

Love INC of Tinley Park has been operating since September, but a formal kickoff was held Thursday, with church representatives hoping the agency can make an impact in the lives of those less fortunate. People requesting assistance through Love INC of Tinley Park must either live in the village or attend one of the participating churches.

Churches that have agreed to support Love INC are Faith Christian Reformed, Faith United Presbyterian, Family Harvest Church, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, St. Julie Billiart, Tinley Park Reformed, Tinley Park United Methodist and Zion Lutheran.

At Faith United Presbyterian, the group established Aslan’s Wardrobe, which collected more than 500 winter coats. Later this month, Family Harvest Church is setting aside space for a personal care pantry that will stock toiletries to be distributed to the needy.

At Thursday’s event, Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said one measure of a community’s strength is the “strength of (its) churches,” and he knows firsthand that there are many people in need of help.

“What amazes me is the amount of need that still exists, especially in a community like Tinley Park,” he said.