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Two matching gifts to benefit agencies

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

A couple of generous matching gift donations to the Rise Up! after-school and youth-mentoring program and to Good Samaritan Ministries’ pantry have made this Easter season an excellent time to give.Good news arrived in the mail last week from Rise Up! that “an incredibly generous donor” will match all donations up to a total of $15,000 made through the end of April to the nonprofit youth service program for at-risk students in Johnson City Schools.A special news letter announcing the gift said the donor’s intent is to help Rise Up! finish its budget year strong. The result will be that every monetary donation made this month will have a double impact on the agency’s ability to continue its after school programming and provide long term mentors to “walk alongside under-resoureced kids” all the way to their entry into college.Rise Up called it “a tremendous opportunity” for community members to help propel its mission to “holistically love, influence and impact under-resourced kids through life skills training, mentoring and college education.”Those who wish to help Rise Up! meet the full potential of the match may make donations online at RiseUpForKids.com mail to Rise Up!, P.O. Box 4426, Johnson City, TN 37602.On the heels of the match gift news from Rise Up, an email blast this week from Good Samaritan carried equally heartening news of a $10,000 matching gift for all monetary donations for food made through the end of May. The same gift for food has come to Good Samaritan annually for a number of years and this year arrives just in time to bolster its share of the Feinstein Foundation’s $1 million food challenge that runs annually in March and April. While the Feinstein Challenge provides a proportional gift for every food item and every dollar donated for food during the period and is capped at community gifts of up to $35,000, ministry Director Sarah Wells said with the increased need for food all area pantries have seen since Jan. 1, “for us $35,000 for food feels like $1 million.” Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is also eligible for a proportional match from the Feinstein Challenge and like Good Samaritan is also feeling the stress of an increased need for food. The latest numbers from the food bank show an average of 40,000 people are now receiving monthly food assistance from 200 community pantries and feeding agencies across Northeast Tennessee assisted by the food bank, up from an average of 38,000 at this time last year.At Johnson City’s Salvation Army, the corps has launched food pantry fund drive to replenish its depleted shelves. “Our food pantry we use every day to nourish hungry people in our community is running very low,” Capt. Nick Garrison, wrote in a recent appeal letter for the community’s help. The Salvation Army is requesting monetary gifts be made online at www,salvationarmyjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 1715, Johnson City TN 37605-1717.Donations to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee may be made online at www.netfoodbank.org or by mail to 1020 Jericho Drive Kingsport, TN, 37663At Good Samaritan, the increase in need seen since January has likewise depleted the ministry’s Benevolence Fund used to assist area families and individuals in emergency need of assistance with utilities and rent. Wells said Emergency Shelter grant funding for 2013 has still not been released. During the first two months of 2014 the ministry covered approximately $46,000 in home heating cost for households at risk of being cut off across its service area. And at Easter, Good Samaritan is once again turning to the community and the churches that have allowed it to provide that help.Carla D. Dunn, director of community and church relations for Good Samaritan, said, “We are asking all local churches and supporters of Good Samaritan Ministries to consider receiving a special offering on Easter Sunday for our Good Samaritan Ministries Benevolence Fund. Food items for Good Samaritan may be dropped off at its building at 100 N. Roan St. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contributions earmarked for food or benevolence may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441 Johnson City, TN 37605.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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