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Good Samaritan Shelter providing valuable support services for people in need

For years, Good Samaritan Shelter has been a beacon of hope for people in need in Northern Santa Barbara County.

“There’s a lot going here and a lot resources if a person wants to take advantage of them to climb out of the hole,” said client John Caraway. “It’s pretty drastic when your down this this low on the rung and these people help you get out.”

John Caraway knows all about Good Samaritan resources.

Currently living in the emergency shelter, Caraway has relied on the non-profit twice.

Several years ago, a fire as his residence brought him to the shelter.

“I think our community is really blessed to have them,” Caraway said. “There’s a large population of us that really don’t want to be in this situation and they really help us a lot. They give us a hand up, not a hand out and that’s a fact. This is a great organization. I can’t say enough.”

More recently, he came to the shelter two months following the death of his spouse and a fight with drug and alcohol addiction.

“I came here and they have great mental health services and drug services as well,” said Caraway. “I’ve been able to take advantage of all of them. They’ve helped me a lot getting back on my feet.”

Known mostly for its emergency shelter, Santa Maria-based Good Samaritan offers people in need with many diverse programs.

“Everywhere from outpatient, drug and alcohol treatment, perinatal programs, mental health treatment, detox treatment,” said Director of Shelter Operations Kirsten Cahoon. “Our emergency shelters, our newly opened human trafficking program. We have clean and sober living homes. We really have a wide array of services for the community.”

Theresa Diaz is also turning her life around thanks to Good Samaritan.

“They have so many resources,” Diaz said. “They’ve taught me with parenting and stay clean. I can never say how grateful I am to them.”

Earlier this year, Diaz arrived at the shelter with her infant son. She said she would be on the street without the help of Good Samaritan.

“I was stuck in a situation where I didn’t see any hope and nothing at all and coming here, you work with a case manager and you have someone to help set goals for yourself and make things happen,” said Diaz.

Clients such as Caraway and Diaz are among the many that will directly benefit from Thursday’s KCOY Turkey Drive.

“(The turkeys) will serve all of our clients in our programs,” Cahoon said. “They’ll also go to clients that recently went into housing.”

Cahoon added donations collected during the all-day event will also be directed towards partner agencies, like the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and Rescue Mission.

“The generosity of the community is just unbelievable,” Caraway said. “They really step up and it gives us a good feeling and it’s a great thing to do and I think it’s really cool.”

The KCOY Turkey Drive will be held Thursday, Nov. 15 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at various locations.

Turkeys, non-perishable food and monetary donations will be accepted at the KCOY building in Santa Maria, Grocery Outlet in Lompoc, California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach, Food Bank Coalition of San Luis County headquarters in San Luis Obispo and Vons in Atascadero.

Collections in San Luis Obispo County benefit Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.

Collections in Santa Barbara County benefit Good Samaritan Shelter.

For more information, visit the KCOY Turkey Drive webpage.

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