Good Samaritan provides provides food and hope in Lamar
The Good Samaritan food pantry and thrift stop in Lamar, MO has been serving Barton County since the early 1980s. Each week, the pantry distributes food and offers hope to families struggling with hunger.
Good Samaritan serves nearly 500 families each month.
“Almost half the families we serve consist of senior citizens,” said Chris Elswick, director of Good Samaritan. “The other half is small to large families. Some are on disability, some have jobs.”
Ozarks Food Harvest supplies most of the food for the pantry’s distributions, which take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Walmart and Sam’s Club stores also donate some of the food.
“We are a faith-based organization, and many times early clients join us in prayer before we officially open the doors,” he shared.
Good Samaritan provides USDA food, Senior Food boxes and emergency food for people facing hunger. The on-site thrift shop charges minimal fees, which pay for the operation of the facility. The organization also provides financial assistance for people struggling to pay for prescriptions and utilities.
People from all walks of life visit Good Samaritan when they need a helping hand.
“I remember when a young single mother of three cried at the amount of food we were able to give her…sometimes the clients sit and chat with our office staff sharing their hopes and fears,” Chris shared. “More than just food, we offer a listening ear and when needed, a hug.”
Good Samaritan is primarily run by volunteers. About 30 volunteers sort donations, stock shelves with clothing, organize the food pantry and hand out food. Some people volunteer every day, and all of them are retired Barton County residents.
Chris believes the future is promising for Good Samaritan as he and his volunteers continue to bring hope to people in Lamar.
“Our #1 priority is the client and meeting their needs with a cheerful attitude,” he said.
We’re grateful for how Good Samaritan is making a difference in the Ozarks! Learn more about our hunger-relief partners and programs at ozarksfoodharvest.org/about/our-network.