Good Samaritan Director Aaron Murphy said, as of Friday, the ministry was prepared to provide backpacks and school supplies, new shoes and three outfits of summer clothing to 1,665 low-income students, or approximately 200 more than that last year.
About 100 children are on Good Samaritan’s waiting list for back-to-school assistance and the ministry is still taking applications from low-income families in need.
The distribution is set for Saturday, July 21, at TVA Credit Union Ballpark and will include:
• A meet and greet with the Johnson City Cardinals.
• A back-to-school picnic with burgers, chips, drinks and treats.
• Bouncy houses and games.
• Free professional haircuts.
• Free safety IDs and fingerprinting by the Johnson City Police Department.
• A variety of helpful information, services and giveaways provided by area businesses and child service organizations.
Murphy credited the WJHL news team, who he said reached out to the ministry in early June to help with the back to school drive, and numerous local businesses and churches for their help making this year’s back-to-school drive a record-setting success.
For others who wish to join in, child sponsorships and donated school supplies, backpacks and clothing are still needed at Good Samaritan and volunteers are welcome to join in this week’s final preparations.
The ministry’s greatest need at this point, Murphy said, is for help with the last of its three summer food distributions to 300 families with school-age children who depend on the free and reduced-price meal program during the school year.
The final food distribution will be conducted July 26-27 and, according to Murphy, is equally important to ensuring the children get a good start on the new school year and do not go to school hungry.
Each of the summer food distributions includes enough canned and dry goods and frozen meats to feed a family of three for one month, as well as cleaning supplies and paper products to supplement the family’s grocery budget.
On Friday, Good Samaritan was approximately $18,000 away from meeting the cost of the final summer food distribution.
Summer food family sponsorships and donated food items, including canned meats, vegetables and fruits, dried beans, rice, macaroni and cheese, pasta noodles and sauce, breakfast cereals, peanut butter and jelly and other kid-friendly foods, are also needed.
The ministry is also collecting donations of new summer clothing and shoes for children up to age 18, new backpacks and school supplies, including notebooks, folders, paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, rulers and glue.
Donations may be dropped off at the ministry from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Back-to-school sponsorships are $100 and will provide shoes, clothing, a backpack and school supplies for one child. Summer food sponsorships are $35 and will offset the cost of a food box for one family.
For those who wish to sponsor a child or a family, donations to Good Samaritan earmarked for “Back to School” or for “Summer Food” may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.