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Good Samaritan still working to bring home Christmas for at risk kids, teens and seniors

Sue Guinn Legg • Dec 13, 2017 at 9:09 PM

On heels of the very successful Angel Tree campaign for kids in need in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties, Coalition for Kids’ annual shopping tour for its neediest children and several other well-supported gift-giving programs for young and old at risk in Northeast Tennesseans, Good Samaritan Ministries is continuing work to Christmas to 1,100 local children, teens and seniors in need.

In their most recent update on this year’s Angel Tree campaigns in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, the Tri-Cities Salvation Army corps reported that shoppers adopted and turned in gifts for “almost all” of the 2,052 children in the three-county area included in the Johnson City corps’ drive.

On Tuesday, Coalition for Kids surpassed its goal of raising $100 sponsorships and recruiting volunteers to take 150 children not included in any other holiday outreach on a Shopping for Others night out at Walmart. Each child purchased a new coat, shoes, an outfit of clothing and one toy for themselves and one gift to give for someone they love.

Officers with the Johnson City and Jonesborough police departments raised enough donations to take a total of 141 children Christmas shopping in their separate Shop with a Cop events. In Unicoi County, the Erwin Kiwanis Club rounded up $100 sponsorships for 193 children included in its annual Christmas Shopping Tour and more for children with extra needs.

Still to go, Good Samaritan reported on Wednesday that it is more than halfway to its goal of providing gifts to 1,100 children, teens and seniors who will otherwise be without, but is still without shopping sponsorships for 423 children and teens and approximately 50 seniors.

The ministry’s Be a Light Christmas outreach is focused on low-income teens in a nine-county area who are too old for other holiday gift programs and too young to be left out, the teens’ siblings, children with parents who are incarcerated and low-income and homebound seniors.

Each child and teen has a Be a Light tag with their first name, age, clothing sizes and gift wish available to anyone who wishes to help with the shopping for a new outfit of clothing, a pair of shoes, a winter coat, socks and underwear, toiletries and an age appropriate toy or gift for each. For a $150 sponsorship donation the ministry staff will do the shopping

For teens and children who do not receive a shopping sponsorship, the ministry will provide a smaller gift package for which it is requesting donations of new winter coats and clothing of all sizes, toys, and in particular need, age-appropriate gifts for teens. Suggested teen gifts include fast food gift cards, movie passes, selfie sticks, earphones, earbuds, cosmetics, beauty products and fragranced lotions for girls and sports balls of all varieties for boys.

For each of 50 seniors still without Be a Light sponsorships, the ministry is working to provide a Christmas gift box packed with a new blanket, toiletries, cleaning supplies and warm winter hats and gloves.

Good Samaritan Executive Director Aaron Murphy said staff and volunteers will be available to accept donations at the ministry building at 100 N. Roan St. until 7 p.m. every weekday and at odd hours on Saturday through the Dec. 20 and 21 distribution. Doors will be locked after hours and anyone who wishes to drop off a gift or join in the gift box packing should call the ministry at 928-1958 for assistance.

Sponsorships or other monetary donations earmarked for Christmas may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37605.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538 or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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