Ministry Director Aaron Murphy said shopping at the marketplace — where parents, grandparents and guardians are selecting up to $150 in child and teen gifts they otherwise could not afford — began last week and will continue through Christmas Eve.
“We have many families, especially grandparent-led households, who are depending on us helping provide a memorable Christmas experience for their loved ones,” he said. “The community needs us to respond and what better way to respond to the need than with this act of kindness.”
In addition to gifts from the marketplace, where a representative of each of the families has spent an hour or more volunteering in exchange for the assistance, Good Samaritan is also distributing large food boxes and prepared holiday dinners to more than 400 low-income families and seniors.
And for 250 low-income seniors served by the ministry, Love Buckets packed with small personal gifts and helpful household items are being assembled for distribution with the seniors holiday food boxes and prepared holiday meals.
Moving forward with faith, Murphy said, “This community has a reputation for being a good Samaritan. As long as I have been with this ministry, they have yet to fail in answering the call of need. It’s a tremendous blessing to live in a loving city.”
For those who wish to join the many area businesses, churches and individual volunteers who are making the project possible, gift items for the marketplace may be dropped off Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Good Samaritan’s offices at 100 N. Roan St., or at the Christmas Marketplace at 207 Princeton Road.
The most-needed items are $15 gift cards for teens and scarves, toboggans and gloves for people of all ages.
Monetary donations earmarked for Christmas can be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN, 37605.
Volunteers who wish to help can call 423-928-1958 for time slots and more information.