This year has been a big one for Logan County’s Good Samaritan, however,thanks to a new partnership, the non-profit was able to fill the needs of the community by spending less.
In 2012, Good Sam spent 49 percent less on food than it did in 2011, due in part by its partnership with Feeding America.
“We were very fortunate to be one of the food banks given the option to pick up from our local Wal-Mart when Feeding America and Wal-Mart decided to partner for donations,” said Denise McDonald, executive director for Good Samaritan.
Last year, the non-profit received over 123,000 pounds of food from Wal-Mart. This partnership has allowed clients to “shop” one time a month from available items. This is in addition to any government provided food they may qualify for.
“This has been very popular with our clients. They can choose items that are needed and will be used in their home,” said McDonald. “This is the most volunteer intensive program we have. We pick up the food three times every week. We have six dedicated men who pick up, weigh and occasionally put away frozen and refrigerated items,” said McDonald.
Other volunteers help sort out and put away the rest of the food and any donated items. Volunteers help keep the shelves and tables “stocked” in the shopping areas. They help the clients with their “shopping” and “check-out.”
The Logan County Good Samaritan, Inc., is a Christian benevolent organization currently being funded by participating churches in our area, private donations and United Way. They strive to provide, upon proper evaluation, assistance of food, emergency housing, emergency transportation, or household necessities for residents of Logan County. They assist clients in locating the proper local and state agencies to meet their needs.
The Logan County Good Samaritan open its doors in 1997. The non-profit’s main objective is to provide emergency assistance for residents of Logan County. They encourage clients to seek out and use available resources to help themselves improve their situation.
“We assisted 923 different families (over 2,000 people) with food this past year. We averaged 438 families a month. We were able to provide over 11,000 food services at a cost of just $3,669. That’s just 33 cents per service. This includes the government sponsored food,” said McDonald.
Most clients are allowed to receive food twice a month; once during the government distribution days (if qualified) and one additional time. On the government distribution days, clients may receive CSFP (senior boxes) and/or USDA (commodities) depending on which program(s) each household qualifies for. Pantry Only services are provided for those who are over the income limits for government distributions.
Although food costs were down due to the partnership with Feeding America, other costs went up to help others as a result.
During 2012, Good Samaritan was able to assist 502 families with 531 financial vouchers for help with utility bills, heating, rent, prescriptions, etc. This was an increase of almost $5,ooo over last year.
“Part of the reason for this increase was the fact we were able to spend less on food last year,” said McDonald, adding that she is thankful to all those volunteers in the food programs.
Due tot he rising costs of utilities, the Board of Directors changed some guidelines allowing slighter larger voucher amounts in certain situations. The rising costs of utilities and these guideline changes have caused the non-profit’s average cost per service from $87 to $96. Unfortunately, they see this trend continuing in 2013.
In December 2008, the City of Russellville passed an ordinance providing for a discount for seniors and disabled persons with a city water bill. Good Samaritan provides the screening and certify clients each year to receive the discount. The discount provides a $10 per month reduction in the water charge. Last year, 85 households were given $9,840 in reductions.
In order to qualify, the senior (over 65) or disabled person must be responsible for the water bill and the household income must be under 130 percent of the poverty level.
Although Good Samaritan was fortunate to become partners with Feed America and Wal-Mart, the non-profit still needs funds throughout the year to help make ends meet. Without those who donate, it is difficult to help the large amount of those in need. Every dollar counts. Those in the private sector can donate food, money and time. Many churches, groups and organizations hold various food drives and fundraisers to benefit LCGS. The United Way, for several years, has helped the LCGS. You can donate through payroll deduction of offered by your employer. Pennyrile RECC and the Electric Plant Board both offer an option of adding $1 or more to your electric bill each month. Funds collected are sent to the LCGS and are used to assist with clients’ electric bills. You can contact your electric company to enroll.
The Logan County Good Samaritan is located on East Fourth Street in Russellville. Office hours are Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For questions, more information about the many programs offered, or if you would like to donate, please call 270-725-9002.