Brownwood’s Good Samaritan Ministries was able to make some much-needed repairs to its storage area this week as new concrete was poured in the warehouse space that holds GSM’s food, supplies and donations throughout the year.
Good Samaritan executive director Leesa Stephens said the warehouse space has a unique and interesting history. “That building had a very colorful life before it became Good Samaritan,” she said. “It was a skating rink during World War II, it was a Studebaker dealership after that, it was a Buick dealership and it was an automotive store. That was where they did the actual working on the cars.
“As we began to bring that concrete up, what you found is that they used whatever they had — chicken wire, pieces of tin, anything they could use — to make that concrete more stable,” she said.
Stephens said forklift traffic in the warehouse had caused the vital space to deteriorate. “We operate seven hunger ministries, and the warehouse is really at the heart of everything we do,” Stephens said. “That’s where all the food is stored for these seven different hunger programs.”
The new floor, she said, is being funded through grants and donations and is about halfway funded. She said GSM welcomes donations from the community to help with the cost.
“We feed about 800 to 900 families a month, so we have to be able to use the forklift,” Stephens said. “If we didn’t do something soon, it was going to be a safety hazard.”
This summer, Stephens said, GSM is feeding chronically hungry schoolchildren through its Food For Thought program, one of its hunger ministries. “Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation,” Stephens said.
Stephens said Brownwood also sees a spike in its homeless population each summer. “We have seen a 50 percent increase this month in our homeless and transitional clients,” she said. GSM assists these clients through ministries like its food pantry.
Good Samaritan also helps with financial assistance, a resale store, a homebound food delivery program, the Deer Project, the Pig Project and more. The Deer and Pig projects allow hunters to donate kills to help provide protein-rich foods to Brown County’s hungry residents.
Stephens encouraged students and kids to volunteer at the nonprofit over the summer. She said GSM has hosted “Granny Camps” for grandparents who are watching their grandchildren, allowing the kids to volunteer for an hour or two.
To donate or volunteer, GSM can be reached at 325-643-2273 or www.goodsambwd.org. It is located at 305 Clark St. in Brownwood.