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Serving Aransas County

A Little History:

Over 20 years ago, some leaders of our community recognized that we had some special problems in Aransas County.  The traditional businesses, like commercial fishing, were in decline.  Retirees were flooding in, along with vacationers and Winter Texans.  Housing costs and other expenses increased, but the job pay of working residents did not keep up.   Working residents began to seek more help.  Government, churches, and other organizations found that they could not keep up with the overwhelming requests for assistance.  So, some church leaders and a number of other local residents met and decided to create a new organization.

 

Rockport-Fulton Good Samaritans, Inc., was established in 1990 with a simple mission:  to provide short term aid to people in Aransas County who are in need of essential goods and services.  The founders sought and received funding from individuals, churches, clubs, and businesses throughout the county.  By June of 1991, the organization was functioning successfully, with a pantry, a supplied and manned office, and doors open daily. 

 

Little Blue HouseIn a few years, Good Samaritans moved from the small building at 302 N. Live Oak to the Little Blue House at 507 South Ann Street. (Click on the photo to read a poem written by Molly Mulle in 2000 about the Little Blue House.) In 2002 we moved out of the small house and into our larger center at the same address.  The new center was built at minimal cost, through the volunteer efforts of many organizations and individuals, and was designed specifically to meet the needs of the growing organization. 

 

Good Samaritans continues to help the residents of Aransas County, most of whom are hard-working people with low-paying jobs:  individuals who have lost their jobs, retirees and the disabled persons living on social security payments, or single parents without the resources to meet the needs of their families. 

Our Community:

Although the Coastal Bend is a very beautiful place where we all love to live, it is a region with many needs that often go unmet.  A recent assessment coordinated by the United Way of the Coastal Bend sheds light on some problems.  Even though Texas is a relatively poor state, more of our region's citizens live in poverty than the state average.  They are more likely to receive food stamps than others in Texas.  More of them live in single parent households.  Coastal Bend teens are more likely to commit suicide.  There are more elderly people in our region than on average statewide, and their poverty rate is higher.   With poverty and aging comes illness.  But, this region has fewer nurses per resident than on average in our state and there aremore residents per doctor than elsewhere in the state.  Diabetes occurs at 1.5 times the state average, and hypertension is very common.  Those outside the Coastal Bend are more likely to receive prenatal care.  The teen pregnancy rate in Aransas County is over 20%.  Wages tend to be low.  Low wages discourage some from working at all.  Public transportation is extremely limited; so, getting to college, day care, and work can be difficult.  There is very little industry in Aransas County, and job are often service jobs, and seasonal ones at that.

 

While there are government programs to assist certain low-income or disabled persons, those programs are very limited.  Very few families receive any cash "welfare" benefits and those who do receive very little.  Some families receive food stamps (SNAP).  Benefits relate to the number of people in the family and to income.  Most adults without children in the home can receive benefits only for three months out of a period of three years.  For those who are disabled, the maximum individual SSI is very low.  There is some low-income housing in Aransas County, but it is usually full, with long waiting lists.  Medicaid is only available to qualifying minors, qualifying adults in need of long term care, and disabled persons qualifying for SSI.

 

Minimum wage requirements in our area remain at the federal level, with many jobs in our area exempt from minimum wage requirements (such as employees in the fishing industry, many persons employed in seasonal and recreational industries, many farm workers, and home care companions for the elderly and infirm).  

 

Benefits and wages in Texas tend to be lower than in many other states, and fewer people receive the benefits than those in other states.

 

COMPARISON OF GOVERNMENT AID (2008)
  Texas U.S. Avg
Share of poor children and parents receiving cash welfare (TANF) 06% 21%
Share of unemployed that receive unemployment benefits  25% 44%
Share of eligible households receiving housing aid  28% 30%
Share of eligible people receiving food stamps (SNAP) 63% 67%
Share of poor adults receiving Medicaid  30% 41%
Share of poor children receiving Medicaid/CHIP 61% 73%

 

In short, our community has many in great need and limited resources with which to aid them. 

 

At Good Samaritans, we know that we cannot solve all of the problems that we see.  But, we believe that we can chip away at them and make the lives of some of our neighbors a little bit better.

 

Our Funding Sources in 2008:

 

Individuals & Memorials  

38%

Castaways Thrift Shop 

23%

Margaret Sue Rust Foundation 

10%

Organizations & Businesses 

12%

Aransas County United Way

04%

Participating Religious Organizations*

14%

*Participating Religious Organizations are Coastal Oaks Church, Come-As-You-Are Worship Center, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Fulton Community Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Peace Lutheran Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Unity Church in Rockport, Salvation Army, and Aransas County Minister’s Association.

Good Samaritans has no employees.  All of our work is done by volunteers and a few periodic contractors.  We are careful to keep our operating expenses very low.  Consequently, most donations to us go to solve the needs of our clients.  

 

Some of Our People:

We have a core group of volunteers, numbering anywhere from 75 to 100, who work regularly to obtain funding, stock the pantry, meet our clients, and complete all of the tasks necessary to keep the service center open and running.  Most of them work several hours a week.  Some of them work much more.  They are a wonderful group of people who care about their neighbors and take action to make our community a better place to live.

 

We are governed by a Board of Directors consisting of executive committee members, past chairmen, members of the community, and representatives from our participating churches. Our executive committee consists of officers and team leaders.

 

If you have questions about The Rockport-Fulton Good Samaritans, please contact us.


Rockport-Fulton Good Samaritans, Inc. is a Texas non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Your donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.
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