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Good Samaritan Ministries kicking off its annual summer food program for local children in need

Sue Guinn Legg • May 16, 2018 at 9:39 PM

With the school year coming to close, low-income families across Northeast Tennessee are bracing for the seasonal challenge of keeping their children fed without the free and reduced-priced meals provided by their schools.

As it has for the past many years, Good Samaritan Ministries will be picking up that burden for several hundred families through its annual Summer Food Program for children enrolled in the free and reduced-price school meal program.

Good Samaritan Executive Director Aaron Murphy said Wednesday, “We know that in the nine counties we serve, 62 percent of children are enrolled in the free or reduced-priced (school) meal program. That alarming number tells us that many families find it difficult to meet need for food in summer months.

So at the end of May and again at the end of June and July, Good Samaritan will provide a minimum of 300 families whose children receive free or reduced-price meals with enough groceries to sustain 3.5 people for one month.

“Most of the parents are single parents and we believe most of these people are children,” Murphy said.

In addition to the 300 families signed up for the May distribution, Good Samaritan has approximately 45 families on its waiting list for its May distribution and is continuing to take applications from more families in need.

To meet the cost of the program, approximately 20 area churches and businesses are conducting food drives for the ministry and a campaign for monetary family sponsorships of Summer Food is underway.

On Wednesday, Murpny said, monetary sponsorships and donated food items had covered approximately 200 or the minimum 300 families who will be included in May’s distribution.

For those who wish to help the ministry meet the outstanding cost this month and throughout the summer, a $35 monetary donation will provide one family with a one-month supply of frozen meats, canned goods and child friendly staples, such as peanut butter breakfast cereals and pasta meals, as well as other essential items, such as toilet paper and laundry detergent. Or, a $105 sponsorship will cover the cost of the Summer Food Program for one family for the entire summer.

“Good Samaritan Ministries will be carrying the burden for for some of these children and their families during the summer months,” Murphy said. “And we believe with help the help of the community we an a make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need.”

Donations to Good Samaritan Ministries earmarked for “Summer Food” may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605.

With the first Summer Food distribution drawing closer, food box packing is underway and will continue daily, Monday through Friday through May 31. Volunteers who wish to join in are encouraged to call Good Samaritan at 423-833-2557 for more information.

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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