The annual Samaritan Gifts for Kids program for children in the Conneaut School District was a huge success once again due to the efforts of many local churches, organizations, schools and individuals. Those that donated bags of gifts for individual children were members of Conneaut Lake Presbyterian Church, High Street Community Church, Our Lady Queen of the Americas Church, Fallowfield United Methodist Church, North Shenango Presbyterian Church, Conneautville Church of Christ, as well as staff members of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Crawford County Office of Assistance, and the Meadville Medical Center. In addition to the bags of gifts, many items were donated including blankets, toys, books, hats, gloves, mittens, socks, toothbrushes, hair care products, and food. Trinity United Methodist Church, Hartstown Presbyterian Church, Our Lady Queen of the Americas Church, Conneaut Lake Middle School, Conneaut Valley Middle School, Conneaut Valley Elementary School, RSVP, Dr. Tom Kellogg and Lakeside Beauty Salon were responsible for the additional donations. Many individuals, organizations and churches also contributed financially as well. Over 50 volunteers helped arrange the bags of gifts as
well as sort out all of the donated items. A total of 334 children in 144 families benefited from the program this year. May all who participated in this program have a truly wonderful and blessed new year!
The Samaritans have been blessed with many donations this Christmas season. We especially would like to thank the organizers of the Antorcha Guadalupana 5k Run/Walk event for choosing us as one of the organizations that would benefit from their donations. Thanks to this event, the Samaritans received $601. The Samaritans also received this month, thanks to our parishioners, a check from the Diocese of Erie for $312.33 from the Rice Bowl donations. Many other individuals, organizations and churches have been very generous in donating to the Samaritans so that we may help those in need in our area. May you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
Sis Lane, one of our parishioners, has been collecting socks for children for many years and donating them to various organizations in the county. The past few years these socks have gone to the Samaritan Gifts for Kids program. Many parents in this program specifically ask for socks for their children. At each door of the church, you will see boxes labeled, “Socks for Kids.” Donations of any sizes of socks will be greatly appreciated.
HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY SAM! . . A timeline of the Samaritans of the Conneaut Lake area.
The year is 1982, a child dies of malnutrition in Conneaut Lake Area. Seem hard to imagine? A group of Our Lady Queen of Americas women’s bible study group thought so. Thirty years ago they fore-fronted an effort to provide the residence of Conneaut Lake with the basic human rights food, clothing and shelter.
Supported by the ministerium of CL, in conjunction with the Erie County Food Bank, Second Harvest and the Center for Family Services, qualified families could receive food on a monthly basis. In the early years, 80-90 families received food from the kitchen of OLQA and clothing seasonally from The Trinity United Methodist Church. A Clothing and Furniture Warehouse in East Fallowfield Township Building thrived for 15 years starting in 1986 with the proceeds used for assistance in rent and utilities to those in need. Greenwood Elementary later become home to the thrift store until 2008.
With only the spirit of the Samaritans surviving, it took 2 years, 1 priest, a monetary donation and a thriving community of support to open THE HOLY GROUND THRIFT on Sept 23, 2010. A permanent home to the Samaritan’s vision of the women 30 years ago and the men and women who volunteer to keep it thriving today is located behind Our Lady Queen of America’s church in Conneaut Lake. Within a year, the current officers and a newly appointed Board of Direct (represented by four area churches), created bylaws, incorporated the organization, became sales and real estate tax exempt and the name “Holy Ground Thrift Shop” was registered with the commonwealth allowing Samaritans to be legally compliant with all governmental agencies.
Currently in operation, the Holy Ground Thrift store generated $15,710.00 in annual revenue with the assistance of its dedicated crew of 50 volunteers alternating twice a week to maintain weekly hours of operations. 133 sources donate regularly helping 106 households in the local area with a large percent of revenue being paid for delinquent utility bills. This need continues to grow annually. NINTY families benefit from the food pantry on a bi-weekly scheduled thanks to the eight loyal volunteers working 50 hours a month.
Paralleling the Samaritans, The Gift for Kids branch of the Samaritan organization began around the same time, 1986. A program depends on a community of good Samaritans to bring the Christmas spirit to kids 13 years and under in the Conneaut School district -still in operation and still growing. This year gift sponsors and 30 volunteers made it possible for 260 children to receive the spirit of Christmas under their tree.
The Samaritans of Conneaut Lake Inc. served more clients this past year with more money, incurred over $10,000.00 in operating expenses and ended the fiscal year with almost exactly the same amount started with. God does provide.
A reason to celebrate? WE think so! Happy 30th Sam! Come help us celebrate the organization and the dedicated community of volunteers of the last 30 years on JUNE 9th. Bring your food, clothing and household donations, enjoy a cupcake & beverage and shop our specially priced Holy Ground Thrift Store items. Your bargain purchase continues to help your neighbor. Help your neighbor . . . Shop Samaritans.
• JUNE 9th, 2012
• 9:30 to Noon
• Holy Ground Thrift Store located behind Our Lady Queen of America’s Church on Rt 285 & 6.