Agencies returning to missions

Sue Guinn Legg • May 3, 2012 at 3:00 PM

After spending the past three weeks networking for Facebook votes that helped them claim a $50,000 prize in Walmart’s $1 million Fighting Hunger Together campaign, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and Good Samaritan Ministries have returned to the business at hand, sourcing food donations for people in the region who do not have enough to eat and rallying the community to the aid of people in crisis.

At the food bank, the Second Harvest staff has turned its focus to next weekend’s national Letter Carriers Food Drive and requesting all food bank supporters, including everyone who cast a vote in last month’s online campaign, to watch for their postman on May 12 and help the National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” locally and nationwide by placing a bag of nonperishable food items by their mailbox.

It’s the largest one-day food drive in America and last year resulted in a collection of more than 70.2 million pounds of food nationwide. All donations gathered by the mail carriers will go to food banks in the communities where the donations are collected. Most needed items include canned meats, vegetables, fruits, stews, soups and pasta meals, peanut butter, and boxed pasta, rice and cereal.

At Good Samaritan Ministries, social worker Rebecca Sherfey is making a special plea this week on behalf of a 52-year-old Johnson City man who is waiting for his doctors to release him to return to work after suffering a massive heart attack and undergoing bypass surgery three months ago. As a result of work missed caused by his illness, Sherfey said the man and his family have fallen two months behind on everything, including $880 in past due rent.

The good news is the man’s wife has recently returned to work and will soon be able to keep their bills current. The Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency’s Washington County Neighborhood Service Center has helped them catch up on their past due utility payments. They have qualified for about $200 in monthly food stamps. And Good Samaritan Ministry has paid $440 to cover half their outstanding debt to their landlord.

The problem is donations to the Good Samaritan’s benevolence fund for emergency rent and utility assistance have been off since the recession hit more than three years ago and the ministry is still waiting for a recovery. In the meantime, Good Samaritan is seeking help with the final $440 the couple still owe their landlord.

Sherfey asked those who may be able to help to make donations earmarked for “heart patient help” by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605 or online at www.goodsamjc.org.

The East Tennessee Region Sports Car Club of America will host a benefit drivers’ challenge at Bristol Motor Speedway Sunday to allow local drivers an opportunity to test their cars and their car-handling ability on an autocross track set up on the BMS parking area.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities to help hundreds of youth service organizations in the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area and to Legal Aid of East Tennessee to help provide legal assistance to families and individuals whose incomes fall within federal poverty guidelines.

Participating cars must pass a safety inspection and participating drivers must have a valid driver’s license and wear an approved driving helmet. The cost is $35 for drivers or $10 for those who wish to ride along with a professional driver. For an additional donation, drivers and riders may also make a pass down the BMS dragway.

Registration and car inspections will begin at 8:30 a.m. A drivers’ meeting will be held at 10:30 and autocross runs will begin 11. General admission is $5 per family.

Drivers may pre-register and learn more about the event online at www.etrscca.org. More information about the event may also be obtained by emailing Betsy Holleman at betsy@bristolmotorspeedway.com or calling 989-6975 or emailing Dave Yoder at dyoder@laet.org or calling 865-405-6645.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.

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