“When people step across the line and become homeless, the family breaks down, education breaks down, and safety breaks down,” shares Dr. Jojo Thomas, the associational missionary at the Chattahoochee Baptist Association. “If we can help people not to have to step across that line, then we can minister in so many ways.”
Good Samaritan Ministries of Northeast Georgia, LLC, is a local food pantry in Gainesville, Georgia, reaching about 75,000 people this year on the margins of life in their city and county. Supported in part by Global Hunger Relief (GHR), Good Samaritan is affiliated with the Chattahoochee Baptist Association and overseen by director Alvin Bagwell, along with Thomas.
Ministries across the United States focusing on meeting hunger needs and implemented by Southern Baptist partners, like the Good Samaritan, are supported by donations given through GHR. One hundred percent of GHR donations go directly to meeting hunger needs, with nothing taken out for administration or promotion. Of those receipts, 20 percent stay in North America and are distributed through the North American Mission Board.
Ron Peters, a local volunteer, explains how Good Samaritan does more than just provide groceries for those struggling to put food on the table. “The Good Samaritan serves the people through ministry, through clothes, through food, through counseling, and through providing hygiene products,” said Peters.
One of the families Good Samaritan serves is Nolan and his two children, ages twelve and fourteen. Nolan works all day as an upholsterer, and the ministry gives him the extra assistance he needs to provide for his family.
“My daughter and son love to eat. Food is in and out of the refrigerator and cabinets,” Nolan said. “It’s hard. I’m crying and praying everyday. It’s just rough right now, but God has provided for me through his community.”
Ben Pigott, Good Samaritan’s assistant director, encouraged individuals to become involved in meeting the needs around them. He said, “Jesus connected physical needs with spiritual needs, and that’s how He began His ministry—meeting physical needs.”
“Serving is really simple,” he said, “You don’t have to make it complicated.”