The Outreach Ministry at Good Sam has a long and rich history, and we welcome your participation. Although we currently lack the ability to fully participate in many of our outreach programs at this time due to necessary social distancing restrictions, our parishioners continue to support our programs as much as they can.
Family Promise of Knoxville works with Knoxville’s interfaith community to provide non-emergency housing to families with children who are experiencing homelessness. For one week during each quarter of the year, we provide overnight accommodations, supper, and breakfast for up to four families. Volunteer opportunities include setting up rooms, preparing and serving meals, staying overnight, and visiting with the families. There are several ways to be involved as an individual, a group, or a family.
Through a county-wide church network, FISH volunteers at Good Sam feed the hungry by delivering groceries from our pantry. Volunteers can serve in multiple areas: purchasing and stocking the food items; packing groceries into bags; taking telephone calls and entering information onto forms for the deliveries; organizing the delivery teams; and driving or assisting in delivering the bags of food. Food bags are packed on the Friday prior to the fourth Monday. Deliveries take place on the fourth Monday of each month and take approximately two hours.
Habitat for Humanity House
Habitat for Humanity is a very personal form of Outreach for Good Sam. Ellis Mayfield, a former rector, was instrumental in bringing the Habitat project to the city of Knoxville many years ago. Through the years, Good Sam has provided funds for and helped to build at least eight Habitat Houses.
“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?” -Micah 6:8
We are part of Justice Knox, an interfaith justice ministry organization that joins over 20 congregations in the Knoxville community. While each congregation may believe something different about God, we share a commitment to pursue justice in God’s name in the Knoxville area. Together, we employ the power of faithful people to help solve serious community problems. Most recently, we have worked with local officials to address issues of mental health resources, disparities in school discipline, lack of affordable housing, and public transportation. Time commitments range from one night each year to monthly gatherings.
Each year, just after schools break for the summer, Good Sam takes a mission trip. The trip is open to all at Good Sam who are willing to commit to giving their time and energy for a week of service and learning. Recent trips have included Charleston, South Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; Montgomery, Alabama; and Washington, D.C. Adult chaperones are invited to join many of our middle school and high school youth. The trip typically is based around a theme related to the area. In Charleston, the focus was on the schism in the Episcopal church, and in Montgomery, the emphasis was on Civil Rights history. The trip incorporates service work at a variety of ministries, as well as historical and cultural education about the area. Upon returning from the trip, participants are invited to share their experiences with the congregation.
Rise Against Hunger
Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable, mobilizing the necessary resources to end hunger by 2030. Rise Against Hunger’s meal packaging program is a volunteer-based initiative that coordinates the assembly-line packaging of highly nutritious, dehydrated meals comprised of rice, soy, vegetables, and 23 essential vitamins and minerals. The program was created to give dedicated individuals and organizations the opportunity to participate in a hands-on international hunger relief program and to become educated, engaged advocates for the world’s hungry. Since the spring of 2016, Good Sam has hosted six food-packing events, packaging over 110,000 meals. Participating in our Rise Against Hunger events is a wonderful way to joyfully engage with other parishioners while contributing to the goal of ending world hunger.
VMC Women’s Mentoring Ministry
The Volunteer Ministry Center Women’s Mentoring Ministry offers friendship and fun for women who are experiencing homelessness and are in the VMC program or have recently achieved housing in Minvilla Manor. Good Sam women organize monthly activities centered on fun and fellowship to be shared with these ladies, usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the VMC. The events begin with a prayer circle, followed by a light meal before starting the planned activity. Past events have included Bingo games, spa nights, craft activities, cookie decorating, and Christmas parties. These interactions provide a deep spiritual connection between our volunteers and the VMC ladies.
On the first and fourth Wednesday of each month, volunteers serve lunch at the Volunteer Ministry Center to those experiencing homelessness. Volunteers provide and prepare the food items and then serve the meal, spending one to two hours at the VMC performing this much-needed and spiritually-fulfilling ministry.