The Fayette Samaritans

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The Fayette Samaritans began in Fayetteville in 1992 and remains one of the outstanding volunteer 501(c)(3) organizations in the county.

 About 30 years ago, churches began to have strangers pop in needing help with groceries or utilities and rent. The churches were not equipped with the expertise to determine if these folks were legitimate or not.

Eleven churches got together and decided to form an organization that could become knowledgeable on this subject and be able to help out folks who were really needy. One of these church members, Mary Lindamood, agreed to serve as treasurer. She told me the bank said an initial deposit would be needed in the amount of $100 and each church gave $10 for the initial deposit of $110.

Currently there are about 50 churches who take a turn each month donating food or clothing, and several churches simply give a cash donation.

In 1992 the Samaritans originally were allowed the use of several rooms in the back of the Fayette Department of Family and Children’s Services office. After eight years, the Samaritans needed more rooms and DFACS was also needing more rooms.

When the Samaritans sent out the word they had no where to go, Wayne Leslie of Leslie Contracting, offered the use of several office spaces at his facility in Fayetteville. After three years there, again more space was needed. Fayetteville Christian Church offered to sell a small space on its property for practically nothing, so the Samaritans could build its own facility, needing at least 2,400 square feet of space.

Square Foot Ministries, a concerned group of members at Fayetteville First United Methodist Church for the down and out, was building new homes for eligible owners. It offered to build the facility and a financial campaign was begun. It was determined that $70,000 would be needed, whether it was cash or in-kind donations, and a campaign was begun. This newspaper kept everyone informed along the way and was instrumental in that goal being reached.

There has been a slight increase in need: in 2014, families needing food was 74 per cent, in 2015, 78 per cent; in 2014 families needing financial assistance, 22 per cent, in 2015 it was 27 per cent; and in 2014, families needing clothing was 31 per cent and in 2015, it was 27 per cent.

Do not let the increase in the number of churches fool you into thinking they now have plenty of help. When Samaritans opened in 1992, our population was 92,000 and in 2016, our population is an estimated 112,000.

Current economic conditions may seem to be improved, but as we read in the newspapers, there is now an increase of our citizens who are veterans needing a little help now and then, underemployed citizens, and an increase in the number of senior citizens in our county, all sometimes needing a little assistance.

As you see by the increase in percentages, more of our citizens are needing a temporary helping hand.

All Fayette Samaritans workers have always been and are currently, volunteers. No one is paid.

The are open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and the third Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The facility is located at 125 Hickory Road, next to Fayetteville Christian Church. They would appreciate your dropping by with canned goods, good used clothing, although underwear must be new, and, of course, cash.

For over a decade a current listing of canned goods is always found in The Citizen, the first Wednesday of each month.