Good Samaritan Ministries is set to distribute Christmas food and gifts to more than 2,200 area children, teens and seniors in need beginning Monday and is continuing its appeal for donations to help more than 200 teenagers who are still without gifts.
Cross-checked against other local holiday distributions to prevent duplication, Good Samaritan’s Christmas outreach this year includes nearly 300 older siblings of children who will receive gifts from Johnson City Salvation Army Angel Tree project who were referred to the ministry because they are too old for the Angel Tree and too young to go without gifts at Christmas.
Also on Good Samaritan’s list are 297 teenagers and 180 younger children who are part of the ministry’s year-round outreach to children of parents who are incarcerated and 320 low-income seniors and disabled adults who are also served by Good Samaritan year-round.
The ministry’s goal is to provide each of the teens and younger children with an outfit, a coat and gloves, toys for the younger kids and stockings stuffed with small gifts for each of the teenagers. For each of the children’s families and for seniors, Good Samaritan will distribute holiday food boxes and prepared meals for those who cannot cook. There will also be small gifts for the children’s custodial parents or guardians and a blanket and gown, robe or house shoes for each of the seniors to open.
Good Samaritan’s Executive Director Sarah Wells said community support for the project has been generous and this week included a $6,500 gift from Johnson City attorney Larry Roberts, who volunteered to buy turkeys for each of 650 food boxes, and hams and turkeys for the ministry’s Christmas Celebration at The Melting Pot planned for Thursday.
Listeners to the Rev. Billy Graham’s 106.9 The Light radio station in Asheville, N.C., adopted 12 of Good Samaritan’s neediest families to shop for. Toys for the younger children have come from area Marines and their Toys for Tots contributors and from area businesses that conducted toy drives for the ministry. And, just in the nick of time, the youth at Wesley United Methodist Church this week brought in a $1,100 collection to help fellow teenagers who are in need at Christmas.
And still, Wells said, late in the day on Friday there were 240 teens for whom the ministry had very little to give. For anyone who wishes to help shop for the teens, the ministry suggests hats, toboggans, scarves and gloves; music CDs and books; restaurant gift cards; bowling, movie and other entertainment passes; sports equipment and hand-held electronic games; lotions, nail polish, manicure sets and hair care accessories for girls; and clothing of all sizes.
Donations may be brought to the ministry at 100 N. Roan St. today from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday from 1-4 p.m., or 9 a.m.-4 p.m. any day next week. On Sunday, anyone dropping off gifts at the Good Samaritan building should call 676-6007 to have someone meet them at the door.
The distribution will be held Monday through Wednesday and Wells said any gifts brought in later in the week will go to about 100 individuals, including families with children, on Good Samaritan’s waiting list.
Volunteers who would like to help are invited to wrap gifts at the ministry today through Tuesday. For more information about Good Samaritan’s Christmas outreach, call 928-1958.