With less than two weeks remaining until the holiday, Good Samaritan Ministries’ drive to provide Thanksgiving food boxes to 650 local families in need and prepared meals to 250 elderly and disabled adults is nearly $26,000 short on the cost.
“The food’s on order and we’re just praying,” ministry director Sarah Wells said.
To fill the bill for the total 900 households included in its holiday food distribution, Good Samaritan’s lead social worker Tammy Kosa said Friday the ministry needs an additional 250 turkeys estimated at $3,000, and another $16,500 in groceries. The prepared meals, which will feed up to four people, will add another $6,475 to the cost of the outreach.
While Second Harvest Food Bank has pledged 250 turkeys for the project, Wells said family sponsorships for the distribution have been extremely slow this year.
A $35 sponsorship will provide a large holiday food basket for one family including a turkey, eggs, butter, flour, sugar, instant potatoes, boxed stuffing mix, macaroni and cheese, canned yams, corn, beans, peas, pintos, cranberry sauce and peaches, and several extra staples for a total of 35 fresh and nonperishable food items. “It’s a good box,” Kosa said.
Volunteers will be needed to help distribute the food boxes on the Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving and local first responders will deliver the prepared meals on Nov. 23.
Aside from the Thanksgiving holiday, Kosa said the Good Samaritan pantry is providing monthly food boxes to about 500 households and about 100 food bags monthly each with a four- to five-day supply of ready-to-eat items for homeless clients. Combined with food boxes delivered regularly to the ministry’s elderly and home-bound clients and with the recent increase in food prices, Kosa said Good Samaritan’s feeding programs have been heavily stressed.
In August, Second Harvest cited a large need for food in the downtown Johnson City area and announced it would attempt to ease some of the burden on the Good Samaritan pantry by distributing food from its mobile pantry at the ministry twice weekly. Kosa said the extra assistance from the food bank continued for several weeks but has since ceased while the number of requests for food assistance has continued to grow. “We’re getting about 80 (new) referrals form DHS (the state Department of Human Services) a month,” Kosa said.
For those who wish to help, donations to Good Samaritan earmarked for “Thanksgiving food” may be made by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605, or online at www.goodsamjc.org.
More information about the ministry’s feeding programs and how to help is available at the website or may be obtained by calling 928-1958.