Good Samaritan Ministries is getting ready for Christmas and making a communitywide appeal for assistance with its outreach to more than 2,200 area teenagers, seniors and children with parents who are incarcerated.
Of the 538 teens on Good Samaritan’s list, nearly 300 were referred to the ministry by the Johnson City Salvation Army as older siblings of children age 12 and under served by the Angel Tree project in Washington, Unicoi and Carter counties. The teens are too old to be included in the Angel Tree outreach and too young to go without gifts at Christmas.
Another 297 teenagers and 180 younger children are part of Good Samaritan’s year-round outreach to families who are caring for children who have parents incarcerated in Washington, Unicoi and Carter counties or at the Northeast Correctional Center in Mountain City.
“We’re not doing much but we do want to provide each of them with an outfit, a coat and a pair of gloves, and a stocking stuffed with little things teens like,” Good Samaritan Executive Director Sarah Wells said.
For the 180 younger children, Wells said, the ministry also hopes to provide clothing, coats and gloves and a few toys. For each of the children’s families and for 320 area seniors in need, the ministry will distribute holiday food boxes as well as prepared holiday meals for those who are unable to cook.
There also will be small gifts from the ministry for each senior, including a blanket and a gown, a robe or houseshoes wrapped for them to open.
Wells said several area businesses have adopted families from Good Samaritan to shop for and Phil Bachman Toyota is conducting a toy drive. Listeners to Blue Ridge Broadcasting’s 106.9 The Light radio station have adopted 12 of the ministry’s families in greatest need. And still, Wells said, there are more than 1,000 individuals included in the outreach for which the ministry remains without gifts or sponsorships.
Wells said a $35 sponsorship will provide a holiday food box for a family, a $30 donation will provide a prepared holiday meal for four to the home of a senior and a donation of any amount will be used to provide gifts for a teen, child or senior.
“We really need toys and things for our teenagers,” Wells said. She offered a list of suggestions, including board games, art sets, music CDs, books, gift cards for any fast food restaurant, bowling, movie or other entertainment passes, sporting equipment, hand-held electronic games, lotions, makeup, nail polish, manicure sets and hair care accessories for girls, and hats, coats, gloves, scarves, socks and underwear and clothing of all sizes.
Donations for Good Samaritan’s Christmas outreach may be dropped off at the ministry at 100 N. Roan St., Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Monetary donations to the ministry may made by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605 or online at www.goodsamjc.org.
For more information about the project and how to help, call 928-0288.
Speedway in Lights is kicking off a “Grand Week of Giving” during which all guests at the holiday light show at Bristol Motor Speedway will be invited to select a local charity to receive $1,000 worth of furniture from Grand Home Furnishings.
Beginning Sunday and continuing through Dec. 17, all Speedway in Lights visitors will be given a ballot to vote for one of five agencies nominated to receive the Grand gift to drop off near the exit. The nominees include the Advocate Center, Girls Inc. of Bristol, Kingsport Housing Authority, Rise Up! and Second Harvest Food Bank. The winner will be announced Dec. 19.
Open nightly from 6-10, tickets for the light show are $10 for cars Sundays through Thursdays, and $12 on Fridays and Saturdays. Activity van tickets are $15 and bus tickets are $65 nightly. As always, all proceeds from the show go to Speedway Children’s Charities for distribution to nonprofit youth service agencies across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.