By Gwen Rollings
Good Samaritan believes in change…one heart at a time. Since its inception in 1984, offering the hope for a better life remains the central focus at Good Samaritan. It is a charitable, not-for-profit Christian ministry. Enhancing the spiritual, emotional and physical quality of life for those living in poverty is initiated by staff and volunteers who believe in offering a way up to a fully productive life.
Volunteers like Jeannie Koenig, an accomplished artist, who became a beloved English Instructor at Good Samaritan before offering her unique art talent to help with fundraising. When someone makes a donation to Good Samaritan, they can choose which of her saltwater/acrylic prints they would like to take home.
Rev. William Cruz, executive director, whose parents began the ministry, believes in giving people “a hand up, not just a hand out” through the Adult Education Program. Free informational and instructional classes are offered throughout the year. Each participant earns a token for every half hour attended. One token can be exchanged for a bag of groceries, two tokens for a backpack and tokens can also be exchanged for gifts at Christmas.
Rev. Cruz’s wife, Theresa, recently initiated the Seeds of Change Program which assists individuals in creating home-based businesses from inception through product completion. Not all the rewards are tangible.
Theresa Cruz believes, “For a community to be truly great, it takes all of us working side-by-side, building each other up and giving our best. Our goal is to help individuals find their purpose, become a meaningful part of this community and in turn give back out of the gratitude that comes from living out their lives as they were designed.”
Volunteers who teach classes in crafts, bible study, health, finances, ESL, GED and manage the Mobile Pantry Store like Tom Sugg say the gratitude of the ones who come to Good Samaritan makes everything volunteers do worthwhile. They encourage others who can share their time and talents to call the office for more information at 634-7136.
For more information, visit www.gsmission.org.