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Being a Champion For Kids at Samaritan Community Center


In my days as a journalist, I took a deep look into a rarely-discussed topic: Homelessness and poverty in northwest Arkansas.

Even five years ago, homelessness was becoming a problem, with lots of people staying in shelters or sleeping on friends’ and relatives’ couches. Today, the effects of the recession have made poverty come to the surface.

One of the organizations I learned to respect and appreciate was Samaritan Community Center, which provides a food pantry, case management and advocacy, medical care and a daily soup kitchen. With two thrift store locations,  Samaritan covers part of its program expenses through items sold at the store, and also gives clothing vouchers to those in need. Samaritan has expanded its reach and now has locations in Rogers and Springdale.

Samaritan has an excellent program called Snackpacks for Kids, in which the schools work with Samaritan to provide a bag filled with 8-10 healthy snacks to elementary-school and Head Start children who are at-risk for hunger or food insecurity during the weekends.

It makes sure these kids get nutrition that goes beyond a hot meal at breakfast and lunch. To supplement the kids in between school years, Samaritan has a summer backpack program as well. To help start off the school year, Samaritan distributes backpacks filled with school supplies to children.

In 2011, Samaritan distributed 145,054 snackpacks to at-risk children, 2500 backpacks to children in northwest Arkansas, and an additional 1,000 backpacks to Joplin children affected by the tornado last spring.

Because of all they do for kids, I make regular donations to the Samaritan thrift store, and I decided to choose Samaritan to donate purchases I made through the Couponing For Good campaign from All You Magazine and Champions For Kids.

I donated a number of items that could be distrubuted at the Samaritan Market or could be used in other programs.

One of Samaritan’s major programs is a dental care clinic, so I know the kids’ oral care products I donated would be put to use possibly in the clinic or the market.

The Snackpacks for Kids program only distributes peanut-allergy-free goods, but I know that for a lot of people, peanut butter crackers can be filling and handy to take to work or school.

I placed most of my focus on items that kids would benefit from, like cereal,

Before leaving Samaritan, I made sure to take home literature about the organization. That way I can study up on its programs and services and make decisions on future donations or volunteer opportunities.

juice boxes, hand sanitizer and canned fruit. With the help of coupons I used from the store, I was able to purchase all the goods you see pictured for just a bit over $29.

There are many ways you can Coupon For Good today and in the future. Some Sam’s Club locations now have donation boxes that will be delivered to Feeding America. On May 12, the United States Postal Service  will hold its annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, in which all you have to do is leave a bag of nonperishable food by the mailbox, and your mail carrier will make sure it is delivered to a local food bank.

For more information about my SIMPLE Service Project, read my post on my shopping trip and check out the photos in my Google + album.

You can also visit Champions for Kids at the following links:

To learn more about Samaritan Community Center, visit

This shop was compensated as part of a consumer insights study by Collective Bias. All opinions are my own unless attributed otherwise.

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  • Sarah April 1, 2012, 10:18 pm

    ♥ – they sound very similar to the Kids Food Basket program here in Grand Rapids, MI. KFB provides 1,000 calorie sack suppers to over 4,000 kids a day in low income families and host sack supper pick ups in the parks in the summer.
    Sarah recently posted..Bridal Guide: 3 Years for $9.58 4/2/12 ONLYMy Profile

    • Bellesouth
      April 1, 2012, 10:19 pm

      That’s incredible! These programs are so in need of all our support.

  • Beeb Ashcroft
    April 2, 2012, 1:24 pm

    Great article! The thought your put into this project will benefit both the organization and your readers who learn more about this organization.


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