New home in the works for Good Samaritan

by Staff reports

RUSK – Rusk Cares-Good Samaritan, a local nonprofit organization devoted to fighting hunger and feeding hope in East Texas, will have a new location soon.
Several local beneficiaries came together and donated 1.5 acres of land to Good Samaritan for the development of a new food pantry, thrift store and resource center that will be located at 245 Pinecrest in Rusk, just off Loop 343 East, according to a release.

Building and site development costs are estimated at $500,000.

A memorial donation of $50,000 was presented to the Good Samaritan in March 2021, as seed money for the new building complex. In addition to the $50,000 gift, the same family has issued a challenge to Good Samaritan to raise $100,000 before the end of this year. They will provide matching funds in the amount of $100,000 for the new building!
The new facility will include a food pantry, resale shop, and resource center. The pantry operation will continue the drive through method of distribution but will also allow Good Samaritan to transition back to “client choice” once pandemic restrictions are removed and volunteers are comfortable working in one on one environments, the release noted.
The new drive through will provide protection from the weather with covered awnings wide enough for cars and volunteers to work safely under. Large industrial fans will circulate air on those extremely hot and humid East Texas days. Commercial freezers and coolers will be added, as well as a large shelved area for canned foods and dry goods. A kitchen area is planned in the new building, where cooking and food nutrition classes will be held.

Good Samaritan was able to purchase its own forklift with grant funds received from the East Texas Food Bank and Temple Foundation this week. Commercial heavy duty rolling steel racks and a roller conveyor system will be purchased with the remaining grant funds. All the new equipment will transfer over to the new food pantry.

The Resale Shop will be larger than the current Thrift Store and large enough to offer some furniture for sale as well as clothes and household effects. The Resale Shop is extremely important to the success of Good Samaritan Food Pantry as it provides funds used to purchase foods. Private donations from the community are instrumental in filling the gap on food purchases, and food drives bring in more much needed canned goods during the year, according to the release.
Mona Burford, Board President, said that Good Samaritan has reached 80% of its $50,000 food budget for this year with donations from private citizens, local churches and businesses.

A separate campaign will kick off in October to raise $50,000 in 2022 for buying food, she said.

In addition to the pantry and resale shop activities, plans include a resource center to further assist clients by connecting them with all available resources, including medical and dental, and new services available for senior citizens, especially those who are raising grandchildren.
Trained staff will be onsite to assist with completing applications for various services.

Hours and days of operation will be increased at the new facility, with plans to offer alternate weekend and evening hours for persons who work and cannot access the food pantry during the week, the release stated.

Building fund donations can be made payable to Rusk Cares – Good Samaritan and mailed directly to Citizens 1st Bank for deposit at 125 N Main St., Rusk TX 75785, or mailed to the Good Samaritan at PO Box 632, Rusk TX 75785.

Food fund donations also may be made payable to Rusk Cares – Good Samaritan and mailed to PO Box 632, Rusk TX 75785.