On Friday, the ministry was about $20,000 short of its goal of providing new clothing, shoes, toys and age-appropriate gifts for every child and teen on its list, and shopping bags loaded with comfort items for every senior.
Approximately $12,000 was still needed to cover the cost of a large holiday food box for every family and a fully prepared holiday dinner for every senior.
The gift distribution is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec.14 and 15, and the food is set to go out on Dec. 19 and 20.
Good Samaritan Executive Director Aaron Murphy said the ministry is taking an all-new approach to its gift distribution for children and teens in need, one the ministry hopes will empower parents by allowing them to select the clothing, toys and gifts their children like and need.
The goal is twofold, Murphy said: to empower parents who know their children’s needs and wants, and to allow the ministry to build relationships and share the spiritual message at the heart of the holiday.
To get the job done, two Christmas “marketplaces” are being assembled at the Good Samaritan Ministries building, one for teens who are excluded from most charitable holiday gift giving programs and one for younger children.
Because shopping for older kids is more difficult, Good Samaritan’s teen marketplace was still in need of a couple of key items on Friday — fun electronics like headphones, earbuds and speakers, and gift cards for fast food restaurants, sporting goods stores and teen shopping havens such as GameStop, Walmart and Five Below.
For those who would to contribute, an individual sponsorship of $150 will put together a Christmas package complete with clothing, shoes and a nice toy or gift for one child or teen.
For seniors, the ministry is loading up gifts bags and buckets packed with warm socks, gloves, hats and scarves, fleece blankets, toiletries, a few cleaning supplies and handy household items to be delivered to the seniors’ homes in conjunction with Good Samaritan’s Christmas food distribution.
For those who wish to donate, a $35 donation to the ministry earmarked for “Christmas food” will provide a holiday food box with a ham, all the makings of a holiday meal and enough extras to feed a family for several weeks, or a fully prepared, family-size holiday meal to be delivered to the home of senior or homebound adult.
Donations of any amount to Good Samaritan Ministry earmarked for a child or teen Christmas or for Christmas food may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441.
The ministry is also in great need of volunteers and is encouraging anyone with time to give to call Good Samaritan at 423-928-1958.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.