Now in its 11th year, the annual Christmas shopping outing serves only children at the coalition who are not included in any other holiday gift-giving outreach. The project is designed to meet the children’s basic needs for warm winter clothing and also to provide them with an opportunity experience the joy of giving to others at Christmas.
Through individual sponsorships provided by the community, each child receives $100 and an adult shopping coach to help them select a new pair of shoes, a warm coat, an outfit of clothing, one toy for themselves and one gift for someone they love.
Cindy Young, director of community outreach for the coalition, said Shopping for Others is a creative and fun way to ensure the children get the things they truly need at Christmas as well as the blessing of taking part in the gift-giving tradition of the holiday.
This year’s Shopping for Others excursion will take place Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the Super Walmart store on Browns Mill Road.
For those who would like to contribute, donations of any amount or a $100 sponsorship to meet the entire cost of Shopping for Others for one child may be made online at coalitionforkids.org, at Coalition for Kids at 2423 Susannah St., or by mail to Coalition for Kids, P.O. Box 3156, Johnson City, TN 37602.
Those who wish to volunteer in the Shopping for Others excursion can download an application form at coalitionforkids.org and return it to coalition before Dec. 5, by email to [email protected], by fax to 423-434-9998, or by mail to P.O. Box 3156, Johnson City, TN 37602. More information about the project may be obtained by contacting Cindy Young at 423-434-2031 ext. 806.
Former Good Samaritan Ministries director Sarah Wells spent two decades assisting others in their darkest hours of need and is now asking the community for help with burial expenses for one of her own family members.
On a Go Fund Me page created on last week on behalf of her nephew John Paul Sampson, Wells shares the story of John’s sudden death on Nov. 13 at the age 51. Born with a mass on his lung that grew over the course of his lifetime, he had undergone surgery last year to remove the mass and with it about three-fourths of his lung.
Adopted by Wells’ brother and sister-in-law as a child, Wells said John had been severely abused as an infant and the family suspects the abuse combined with his medical issues impaired his ability to make his own way. He continued to live with his adopted parents until their deaths after which he eventually lost their home to unpaid taxes.
At risk of homelessness, he was assisted by several community organizations that stepped in to help. He lived for nearly two years at the Manna House shelter and also received help from Mountain View Baptist Church and from Good Samaritan Ministry, which helped him obtain the Social Security disability benefits that finally allowed him to secure his independence. He was scheduled to move into his own affordable housing unit on the day he died.
Prior to his bout with homelessness, Wells said John never realized his value to their family and to others. But through the help he received from many, he finally came to realize he was indeed loved.
“God his true Father, gave him a better home,” Wells writes on the Go Fund Me page. “I am so glad that the struggle to breathe is over but for his sake and dignity I must honor his life by giving him a Christian funeral. I hate that I cannot pay for this for him. Please, I am asking for your help to bury John.”
On Wednesday, the Go Fund me page had received $600 in donations toward a goal of $5,500. John’s services are planned for 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Fairview Cemetery in Jonesborough.
Donations to help with the funeral may be made online at the Go Fund Me page or by mail to the nonprofit Gilead Fellowship, 104 Water Oak Court, Johnson City, TN, 37615.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.