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On faith: Giving thanks and giving to others

Thanksgiving is drawing near and the Advent season is soon upon us. This is the time of year when we celebrate family and community. It is also the time of year when we remember those around us who are less fortunate that we are.  Unemployment, high food costs, rising medical costs and the price of heating our homes continue to threaten the poor and those on fixed incomes. Recent cuts in the SNAP program will ensure that our two community food shelves- the Two Harbors Food Shelf at AEOA and Elijah's Pantry at Living Waters Fellowship -- will continue to see increases in the number and frequency of people being served. Yet through it all it is people like you who join together to make a difference and to offer comfort, help, and encouragement to those in need.

The Good Samaritan Relief Fund was created by the board of Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Store which is wholly owned by the churches of the Two Harbors Christian Ministerial Association.  Its purpose is to help meet the growing need here in our communities. All monies given are used to help our friends and neighbors under the direction of a committee made up of three community members and three pastors appointed by the N2N board. No funds are used for salaries or administration. 

In addition to offering assistance in emergencies and help people passing through town who are out of funds and need a hot meal or a place to stay, we provide several special programs designed to bless those in need here our community.  This year we have used your gifts to help many needy people. 

The Saturday before Thanksgiving- this year Nov. 23 - N2N Thrift and the churches provide a community Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who would like to come. We even deliver to those who cannot come out and join us. Pastor Barbara Joseph along with a great crew of willing workers prepares a traditional Thanksgiving meal with roasted turkey and all the trimmings. This year we are roasting fourteen 20-pound turkeys for the event. The meal will be served from 2-6 p.m. at Living Waters Fellowship. And you are all invited!

Another fun and important event Good Samaritan Fund sponsors is the Community Christmas Fellowship.  This year's event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. in the Two Harbors Community Center. Everyone is invited for hot chocolate, coffee and cookies and a visit from Santa. Every child who signs up in advance will receive a gift provided by friends from the community, the churches, and people who care. Sign-up forms are available at N2N Thrift Store. We also have help for families with special circumstances. We make sure that every child in our hospital or those in Duluth have at least one gift for Christmas.

Through our law enforcement and ElderCare chaplaincies we help meet the needs of those serving a sentence in the Lake County Jail and of our elderly who, because of failing health, are no longer able to be on their own and now live in assisted living homes and Ecumen Scenic Shores Care Center. 

None of this would be possible if it were not for your generosity. Thank you for the contributions that you made last year and, for some of you, for several years.Your gifts of time, money or toys is greatly appreciated by the needy of our community 

We need your help again this year. If you are donating toys, they need to be received by us no later than Monday, Dec. 16. Please drop them off at Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Store Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. or at Living Waters Fellowship on Wednesday afternoons from 1 - 6 p.m. If you are giving a monetary gift, please mail your donations to:

The Good Samaritan Relief Fund

Neighbor to Neighbor Thrift Store

515 First Ave

Two Harbors, Minn. 55616

Your gift is fully tax-deductible.

Please join us for the community Advent service on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. This year's service will be held at First Baptist Church.

God Bless You!