A Local Organization, Love Heals, Offers Help Through Hard Times.

by | Feb 2024

BELOVED CHILDREN’S television host Mister Rogers was known for doing good for others. For nearly four decades, he visited homes via the television with his half-hour-long program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Through his work, he shared with viewers of all ages ways they could be kind and helpful to each other. 

Rogers was always looking for good in times of darkness. He would often recall the important lesson he had learned from his mother. 

“When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” 

Courtney Green took that sentiment to heart. She and her team of dedicated helpers work tirelessly to ensure that no one has to experience hardship alone. 

Green is the founder and executive director of Love Heals. Love Heals is a nonprofit that “walks alongside individuals experiencing hardship by connecting communities, coordinating care, and covering costs.” 

Though they’ve only been operating as an official nonprofit for about a year, Green and her group have worked for six years to walk alongside those needing a helping hand. 

“Unofficially, we started in 2018. I was a bartender out of school, and this all got started to help a friend. The year prior, my friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a part, of sorts, in her journey from seeing the diagnosis happen, the biopsies and treatments, along with all the life changes that come with a diagnosis. She had asked if I could pray for her because she didn’t have enough funds for an upcoming treatment. And while I, of course, said yes, I wanted to do more. Looking back, I was living out what Love Heals is now to my friend at that time,” Green explained.

To help during a challenging time, Green and some friends recruited four local bands to perform in a benefit concert, with all the proceeds going to help with her friend’s medical bills. Green’s friend was present to share her story with the audience. The event’s success led to more benefits.

“Helping her turned into randomly doing things for people over the next four years. We’ve been doing benefit events for people as a fun side project and donating 100% of the funds raised to them. As we have grown over the years, we knew we wanted to make our work more official.”

While Green was glad to be able to do something for her friend, she had not foreseen the interest that would follow after holding such an event. 

“People began to ask when the next one would be held. Initially, I was unsure of why people were interested. There wasn’t anything spectacular about it or different. However, after we did that first event in November of 2018, we spent some time discussing people’s interest in it. We realized two things. One was that people liked that 100% of their ticket went to the person and wasn’t going to any kind of overhead. We paid for that ourselves, out of pocket, through extra shifts. The other was that my friend personally shared her story through cancer, and people seemed to resonate with that. We kept getting bands that weren’t just someone playing the guitar but offered a full-blown concert experience as best as we could afford. Everything started connecting,” Green recalled.

That connection has now solidified, becoming a nonprofit. While Green and her staff are still learning the ropes, the organization is making headway. 

“Realistically, we’re just getting started as an actual legitimate organization with real databases, systems, software, and the ability to run payroll,” said Green. 

“I wouldn’t say we have it perfected, but the model is there, and it’s clear. We’ve expanded beyond just doing concerts. Our goal is to advocate or walk alongside people because we believe no one should walk through hardship alone. And each person’s story is different. How do we best care for each individual? We’re figuring out what [it] looks like to walk alongside our beneficiaries and coordinate care for them beyond just handing them money.” 

Green stated that this is only the beginning of what Love Heals has planned for the Lynchburg community. 

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far. We’ve helped eight people since we’ve existed. I think in the next five years, we will be across the East Coast. Everything we’re doing, whether it’s programs such as ‘Coffee for Caregivers,’ a monthly program where we provide caregivers with free coffee at local coffee shops, our benefit worship nights in partnership with local churches, or new benefits or programs, I think each has the power to bring communities together in different parts of the state. 

“Everything we do is getting made into a standard operating procedure so that we can multiply impact. This empowers others from different parts of the country to help members of their communities share their stories and receive support. So, at the bare minimum, I think we’ll be on the East Coast. I don’t think there’s a reason we wouldn’t be across the country having people host their events and help people in their communities.” GN 

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