JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - For days now, Thanksgiving boxes have been going out the doors of Good Samaritan Ministries, and they're not done yet as the holiday approaches.
Volunteers at Good Samaritan Ministries in Johnson City have been preparing Thanksgiving boxes for those in need for weeks now. Now those boxes are headed out the back door just in time for the holiday meal. "So far it's 394 families that have actually got their boxes, got their turkeys and they're excited about that. Then we've got more coming today, all day long, and of course we're concerned about the weather tomorrow on the big day," director Sarah Wells says.
A close look into those boxes reveals there's more in there than just enough for a Thanksgiving meal. "We make sure that they have a lot more, and this year our boxes are 75 pounds. They're getting a lot more. They're getting soups, spaghetti, all of those things that can last longer. That food box is going to last quite a bit longer," she said.
So it doesn't take long to deplete the ministry's pantry, but with the help of sponsors they'll be doing even more for Thanksgiving by giving out meals. "These are fully-cooked meals from Food City. They've got the turkey and all the trimmings, and everything that they have need for their family. It's very large," the director said.
Wells tells us the cuts in the SNAP food assistance program at the first of the month has made the need much greater this year. "About two weeks prior, people were lined up here. My offices were full. They were outside waiting to get in trying to get food because their fear was how much was going to be cut. They just knew to be afraid," she said.
That fear turns into more demands on those trying to help.