By Henry M. Holden
Samaritans is the name of Resurrection Parish’s social outreach ministry. It all started about two decades ago with a few good people helping fellow parishioners in need; however, Samaritans has grown to about 70 volunteers and into a multi-pronged outreach ministry with connections to many non-profit organizations throughout northern New Jersey.
“The generosity of Resurrection parishioners with donations of time, food, clothing, gifts, and financial aid is truly inspiring,” said Tammy McConnell, Samaritan’s current director.
The Samaritans ministry helps in a variety of ways to those who are in need, as well as to offer opportunities for parishioners of all ages to recognize and respond to those needs.
Delivery volunteers called “A Few Good Men” help support Randolph’s Meals-on-Wheels program and collecting non-perishable items for the food pantries at Hope House and Homeless Solutions. In addition, they deliver almost 500 turkeys from the annual Turkey and Thanksgiving Drive and toys for children in need from the Giving Tree drive held in early December.
The on-going programs include cooking and serving hot lunches at the Faith Kitchen, in Dover each month and hot dinners at Homeless Solutions in Morris Township, twice a month.
Each month the parish advertises in their weekly bulletin what each agency needs and parishioners donate those items. It could be as small as a toothbrush of as large as a case of diapers.
Mothers and children are cared for by the following organizations with the items collected: Birth Haven, Birthright, Head Start, North Porch, and Partnership for Maternal & Child Health of Northern NJ.
Two area pre-school programs serving low-income families, Head Start & El Primer Paso, both in Dover, are well-provisioned for another productive year of preparing students for future academic success thanks to the Samaritans.
Samaritan volunteers help to coordinate four major collection drives a year. There’s a spring Baby Shower for expectant mothers, caregivers and babies in need. Each August, there’s a Back-to-School Supplies drive to equip students served by local agencies in need for a successful school year. In November, it’s time for the Turkey and Thanksgiving Food drive. Then, the final drive each year is the Christmas Giving Tree in December.
Samaritans’ volunteer Rebecca puts it, “It is wonderful when idle hands do the work of God because that is what we are called to be God’s hands here on Earth.”
“Volunteers can give as little or as much time as they wish,” said McConnell. “They can help with one of the collection drives or with ongoing Samaritans’ activities throughout the year.”
Another volunteer, Kim W, said, “In working with the Samaritans, I feel that I receive more than I give. It is always inspiring because not only are you helping others, but you gain so much by working with people who truly match their faith with good works.”