Area schools will recess for summer at the end of May and local families who depend on the free and reduced price school breakfasts and lunches their children receive at school will begin their struggle to provide those meals at home.
Good Samaritan Ministries’ annual Summer Food families is once again gearing up to assist up to 600 of those families who are at or near the federal poverty level and eligible for the supplemental school meal program.
Once each month in June, July and August, the program will provide income eligible households with enough canned goods and fresh meats to feed a family for about two weeks. It also will provide paper products, toiletries and cleaning supplies that are not covered by government-funded nutrition programs.
Amber Greene, Good Samaritan’s director of community and church relations, said the ministry typically receives most of its food budget, including funding for the Summer Food program, during March and April when the $1 million Feinstein Food Challenge encourages food and cash donations to participating agencies by providing a proportional cash match for every dollar and every pound of food donated. Unfortunately this year, Greene said, the ministry did not raise near enough to meet the need.
“Our funding is dangerously low. ... We have 600 families with children who need the help from this ministry. ... We are at a critical time here at Good Samaritan and we need the help of our Good Samaritan community members to help us help those who need us,” she said.
Good Samaritan Director Sarah Wells said Wednesday 461 families referred to the ministry by local school counselors and Department of Children’s Services social workers have registered for the program so far. The registration will remain open through May 31 or until the program reaches it 600-family capacity. The ministry has so far received three-month sponsorships for 36 of the families. It also received a large and generous contribution of food items collected for the first distribution by Grace Fellowship Church that included peanut butter, sugar and flour and other hard-to-get items.
For others who would like to help, a $35 donation will sponsor a family for one month or a $105 donation will sponsor a family for the entire summer. For those who wish to collect or donate items for the distributions, the most-needed items include peanut butter, Ramen noodles, oatmeal, cereal, canned fruit, canned meats, soup and pasta dishes, fresh or frozen hamburger, hot dogs, bologna, chicken nuggets and pizzas, and toilet tissue.
Donations may be dropped off at the ministry at 100 N. Roan Street, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monetary donations earmarked for Summer Food may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37601-2441. Volunteers and groups who would like to help pack and distribute the food may call the ministry at 928-1958 to schedule.
Hope on Wheels, the annual motorcycle ride to help cancer patients receiving care at Mountain States Health Alliance’s Regional Cancer Center, is set to roll Saturday morning.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and the ride will start at 11 in the parking lot of the MSHA Market Street Centre, located across West Market Street from Jim’s Motorcycle Sales. Breakfast and a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase and door prizes will be awarded.
The 73-mile, two-hour ride will begin with a motorcycle procession past Niswonger Children’s Hospital where the hospital’s young patients and their families will come outside to watch and wave at the riders. The route will continue through Unicoi County to the Cherokee National Forest and on into North Carolina along the Cane River.
Now in its fifth year, the ride draws about 70 riders and raises about $9,000 annually to help local adults and children with transportation, medicine, wigs and other needs related to their cancer treatment.
“We hope to raise at least another $8,000, Jeff Clinebell, senior project manager for construction at MSHA and one of the ride’s organizers said. “It’s a really nice ride and it benefits a great cause.”
Registration forms are available online at www.mountainstatesfoundation.org.
For more information, call Tim Bullock at 431-7775 or email BullockT@msha.com.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at email@example.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.