The number of Brown County families seeking help putting food on the table for Christmas exceeded expectations by almost 100, but Good Samaritan Ministries was able to meet the demand with the assistance of local supporters.

“We anticipated serving 900 families from Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, however 997 families came to our pantry for food,” Good Samaritan Executive Director Angelia Bostick said Tuesday afternoon. “Thanks to the generosity that abounds in our community, we had enough food to meet the demand.”

Also, the ministry’s clothing room had 983 families shop there during December, Bostick said.

“It is truly amazing how God works through the people and churches in our community to help our hurting and hungry neighbors,” Bostick said. “If you want a Christmas miracle, talk to a GSM staff person or volunteer and let them share with you how prayers of clients have been answered and how their needs were met at Good Samaritan this year.”

Bostick offered the example of a grandmother who came to the Good Samaritan office for a Christmas tree.

“She is raising her grandchildren because their parents are in prison,” Bostick said. “All her little granddaughter wanted was a white Christmas tree for Christmas. That's all — no toys, no dolls, just a white Christmas tree.

“Amazingly, while the grandmother was relaying this request, a Christmas tree was being donated at our warehouse door. The donor was completely unaware of what was happening in an office inside. But God was not unaware. He had heard the plea of a little girl. And He cared. And He used us, volunteers, staff, donors, all of us, to meet that desire. This is repeated throughout the year.”

Boxes with a Christmas dinner for a family of four were provided to families applying for assistance. The holiday boxes included a seven- to eight-pound hen, cooking oil, cranberry sauce, instant mashed potatoes, chicken broth, canned black-eyedpeas, canned sweet potatoes, 16-ounce stuffing mix, cornbread mix, gravy mixes, a dozen medium eggs, sweet peas, pumpkin pie filling, Jell-O pudding, five pounds of flour, margarine, four pounds of sugar, canned fruit, canned juice and cookies.

Good Samaritan’s offices will be closed today for a Christmas and New Year’s break, and will reopen on Jan. 6. Bostick said the needs Brown County residents have had during the Christmas season will not disappear when the old year ends.

“Don’t forget about GSM after the tree and the lights are down,” Bostick said. “We will be here in January, February, March and beyond because some of our neighbors will be hungry and hurting.”

The break will allow staff and volunteers time with their families “to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus and to welcome the coming New Year and its opportunities to serve,” Bostick said.