Twenty one years ago, those families in need of a little food and maybe some clothing would visit various churches throughout the county. However, churches at that time were not equipped to take care of them and it was decided to band together and form an organization devoted just to those needs.
The Fayette Samaritans was created as a non-profit and staffed entirely by volunteers. These many years later it is still staffed entirely by volunteers.
From a small handful of churches helping to start this food and clothing bank now five dozen do their part in supporting it. They take turns by either sending in a cash donation or delivering boxes of non-perishable canned good, or gently used clothing.
Yes, occasionally a couple, sometimes with small children in the back seat, make their rounds of the several food and clothing banks in the county and fib about their needs. When this happens, each of these organizations promptly call each other to warn them.
The Fayette Samaritans has just released its 2013 figures as to how many in the community has been helped.
The total number of individuals in client families, 3,627; the number of families below the poverty level, 970; of those served, 75 percent requested food, 31 percent requested clothing and 28 percent requested some financial assistance. Some families requested assistance in more than one area.
Each family client is rigorously screened: they must provide a social security card for each member, have an address in Fayette County, must provide a photo and driver’s license, and must provide a list of their income and expenses.
How can you help? The first Wednesday of each month this newspaper provides a list of the Samaritans current needs, whether its canned good, diapers, or gently used clothes. Otherwise, its donations would pretty much consist of cases of green beans. This list can generally can be found on page 2A.
The Samaritans are located at 125 Hickory Road, next to Fayetteville Christian Church. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Call them at 770-719-2707.
If you have some spare time on your hands you might also volunteer a few hours each month, packing food items for the needy client families.