On Friday and Saturday at BayFest in Bay Springs, the Good Samaritan Center will be accepting non-perishable food items for its Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry to assist hungry families in the Pine Belt Area. This time of year marks a critical time for Good Samaritan’s food programs.

“Donations begin to drop off in April, but demand, unfortunately, doesn’t,” said Kathy Clem, executive director. “Giving tends to be strong during the holidays, but tends to decline in late spring and the summer months, the time when we most need the support to feed over 100 children per day that come through our Soup Kitchen when school is out.”

Since serving its first few meals in 1994, the Good Samaritan Soup Kitchen has become a beacon of hope and compassion for countless families in the Pine Belt experiencing food insecurity. With no income restrictions, it has welcomed both the chronically poor and those experiencing temporary financial setbacks. Additionally, it is Jones County’s only community kitchen.

Offering more than just a hot meal, the mission of the center is to serve families in emergency crisis situations. Its social services program offers clothing items through the resale store, NUTS (Neat Used Things for Sale), helps guests with referrals to other community services and assists families and individuals with groceries through a food assistance program to help them during the process of applying for SNAP benefits, which can sometimes take more than 30 days.

After 25 years, the soup kitchen continues to demonstrate the ongoing challenge of hunger and best practices in food emergency program services. This food drive at Bay Fest commemorates all who have stepped up to serve the community and meet challenges head on, and make a difference in the lives of Pine Belt families, who have sought relief and nourishment at the Good Samaritan Soup Kitchen since 1994.

The Soup Kitchen welcomes all to participate in the Bay Fest Food Drive. To volunteer or to ask questions about the most needed items, contact Sybil Sprouse at sybilsprouse@goodsamaritancenter.org or 601-425-2666. To make online donations to support the work of The Good Samaritan Center, visit http://www.goodsamaritancenter.org


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