By Amanda Boston
Established in 1984, the Good Samaritan Mission (GSM) is closing its doors in Wimauma and going mobile. As the housing industry pushes further into Wimauma, the local Hispanic farmworker population continues to be pushed out.
“Going mobile with our ministry is a natural next step,” said Reverend Bill Cruz, the executive director of GSM. “Rather than staying in our facility and inviting people to come, we are, literally, going to them.”
GSM will take its food pantry ministry and adult education classes on the road as GSMobile. Through the transition, the ministry will continue to serve its original purpose—to improve the quality of life for those in the community through the knowledge of the Gospel and life skill classes.
As GSM streamlines its ministry, it will relocate its administrative offices to Sun City. Reverend Cruz believes God is behind the organization’s transformation.
“We are seeing more and more centers and businesses opening their doors for us to come in and teach at their facilities, fully aware that we are a Christian organization,” said Reverend Cruz. “We’ve seen, first-hand, an overall hunger for the message of the Gospel. We are excited to be part of spreading His Word throughout the community.”
Amid its transition, the sixth annual Family Salsa Festival will still go on, but it will be held at South Bay Church in Riverview. So, if you like salsa and wish to support GSM, mark your calendar for Saturday, March 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. All proceeds will go toward programming and operational expenses.
The Family Salsa Festival is a free event and a celebration of community and all things salsa. The festival will feature food trucks, live entertainment, a kids zone with games and activities, salsa dancing, craft vendors, and of course, the sampling of salsa.
If you would like to participate as a vendor, salsa dip maker or provide entertainment, please contact Kacey Folger, the community engagement coordinator at 240-4107. South Bay Church is located at 13498 US Hwy 301 S. in Riverview. For more information about the festival, visit familysalsafestival.com.
To learn more about GSMobile, visit www.gsmission.org. GSM is always looking for volunteers, especially instructors for the adult education program. To volunteer or donate, call 634-7136.