For each of the 700 registered and up to a maximum of 300 more who may sign up to be placed on its back-to-school waiting list, the ministry is working to provide three outfits of new clothing, new shoes, socks and underwear and a new backpack fully loaded with school supplies.
Numerous area churches and businesses have joined in the effort and are conducting in-house drives and giveaways that allow community members an opportunity to chip in.
Among them, Open Doors Coffee House at the corner of East Eighth Avenue and North Roan Street has a free cup of coffee waiting for anyone who donates of two pairs of new socks; at Chick-fil-A on West Market Street, two pairs of new socks is good for free chicken sandwich; and at Office Depot, a pack of notebook paper will get you a 20 percent discount on your next purchase.
For those who wish to sponsor a child in need for clothing and supplies, a $150 donation will cover the cost of everything included in the Good Samaritan distribution; or donated items for their back-to-school boxes may be dropped off daily at the ministry at 100 N. Roan St.
Donated items will offset the total project cost of $105,000 toward which the ministry’s fundraising goal for this week is $25,000. Monetary donations earmarked for “back to school” may be made online at www.goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605.
The back-to-school distribution will be held Saturday, Aug. 3, at the TVA Credit Union Ball Park, home of the Johnson City Cardinals, and will include a picnic with inflatable attractions, games, a variety of fun and helpful giveaways and free admission to the Cardinals games against Bluefield.
In conjunction with the back-to-school drive, Good Samaritan Ministries is also in the midst of its annual Summer Food Program that provides three monthly distributions of large food boxes, cleaning supplies and paper products to 300 low-income families with children who are without the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school.
The total cost of the summer food program is $75,000, of which the ministry is still working to raise $56,000. Family sponsorships are $105 for the entire summer and can also be made by earmarking donations for “summer food” at the Good Samaritan website or by mail to the ministry.
Good Samaritan Executive Director Aaron Murphy said, “This is about the families. It’s about children in need. And it’s about showing love to people who need it.“
“We believe all children are deserving, no matter their situation and circumstances, all children are deserving of the resources that are needed for them to move forward in life and fulfill their God-given destiny. If that requires us to provide food and school supplies, we are here to take on that challenge,” Murphy said.
“All the families are financially screened and assessed and our social workers work with the families prior to and after the program because follow up is important. So that this is not just a handout, we walk with them and try to put them in a better place to provide for their children. We help them with job applications and referrals. We are connecting them with employers.
“Good Samaritan Ministries fills the gaps to ensure families have shelter, running water and electricity to provide environments that are conducive to good child raising. We are here to change lives by any means necessary, combating homelessness, hunger and lack.”
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.