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Sue Guinn Legg

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Summer Food program begins; less than 25 percent of cost met

June 8th, 2013 9:21 pm by Sue Guinn Legg

Summer Food program begins; less than 25 percent of cost met

Amber Cavim packs food boxes for the Summer Food program Thursday morning at Good Samaritan Ministries. (Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press)


Good Samaritan ministries has kicked off its monthly summer food distributions to 600 low-income families who struggle to feed their children during the summer recess of school, but is more than 75 percent short of the funding needed to meet the project’s cost. 


The first of three monthly distributions of enough canned and frozen goods to feed each of those families for about two weeks began Thursday and will continue through Wednesday with food box pickups at the Good Samaritan building in downtown Johnson City and deliveries to households in rural areas across Northeast Tennessee identified as those with the greatest need.


Heather, a 34-year single mother from Gray with two young children and less than $900 a month income to meet all her family’s needs, was among those who came to the ministry Thursday for the supplemental food that will see them through to August.


Her food box included peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna, vegetables and fruit, dry cereal, oatmeal, noodles and spaghetti and spaghetti sauce. With the box she received a package of frozen meats — hot dogs, bologna, sausages, chicken nuggets and even pizza. And there were toiletries, soap, shampoo and conditioner and toothpaste, toilet paper, dish detergent and bleach.


“It means the world to me. It means my kids will eat,” she said. “Because even with food stamps, I wouldn’t make it through the month. I wouldn’t know where my food was coming from. It means I’m not going to be trying to figure out where I’m going to find food for them.”


Good Samaritan Executive Director Sarah Wells said approximately 90 percent of the 600 families in the program have children who attend Johnson City and Washington County schools. The remaining 10 percent are families from communities across the eight-county region who have been identified by state Families First social workers as having the greatest need based on household income and children with disabilities. 


“When they have a child who is sick, it’s even harder on them,” Wells said.


“We normally (distribute) in two days, but this time it’s five days. The social workers are working with us this year and they’re coming in next week to deliver boxes to their children with special needs, because their needs are so great. They go into the mountains where the need is really bad.”


On Friday, the ministry had received family sponsorships to cover the cost of all three monthly distributions for 145 families and a generous round of food donations to supplement this month’s distribution from Operation Blessing, a feeding program of the international 700 Club. Summer Food sponsorships were still needed for 455 families, for a total outstanding cost of $47,775 for the three-month program.


For those who wish to help, a $35 donation will provide a food box, frozen goods and supplemental toiletries and cleaning supplies for one family for one month. A $105 donation will sponsor a family for all three Summer Food distributions.


For those who wish to help, tax-deductible donations to Good Samaritan Ministries earmarked for Summer Food may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605. 


Volunteers will be needed to pack and distribute food throughout the summer. Those who wish to help may call Good Samaritan at 928-1958 for details.

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