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One life at a time. That’s the philosophy behind Samaritan Ministries, founded 12 years ago this month by Lorraine and Van Vickery and Magdalena Williams.
“Our goal was to open a transitional house for single moms and women in crisis to enable them to go to school, find work, get counseling and heal from lives of abuse and drama without concern of having anything to pay for,” Lorraine Vickery said in the small office which shares a building with Alpha Pregnancy Center.
That transition house opened in 2006 and was home to more than 20 women and children for five years. It has since closed for financial reasons, but Vickery has high hopes to someday open it again, with a donated house.
To date, Samaritan Ministries has helped more than 270 women and in 2012 spent more than $5,000 on what Vickery considers one of the group’s most important functions: the car ministry, which helps women to renew tags and licenses. It also helps pay tickets and car insurance.
The ministry also focuses on counseling. “If we help them, but we don’t address the inner issues, women keep cycling into bad relationships,” Vickery said.
She believes it was God’s calling for her to take her past and help women in similar situations. She never believed 12 years later the organization would still be running.
“Because I was a single mom and I had been in abusive relationships, in my heart this was a calling,” she said. “God really puts a love in your heart for these women, because many of us serving here have been where they are. ... But we expect them to pay it forward.”
One woman who is paying it forward is Patricia Reynolds. In the past eight months, with the help of Samaritan Ministries, Reynolds has obtained a P.O. Box, gotten help paying for needed prescriptions and gotten back on disability. After being diagnosed with cancer, she was homeless and living in a domestic violence shelter, but with the help of Samaritan, she now has her own apartment.
“I think that it has a lot to do with putting God in my life,” Reynolds said. “And Samaritan Ministries is the one that did that for me.”
To celebrate the anniversary, Samaritan Ministry, with the help of Kathleen Robinson, of First Baptist Church of Palm Coast, will hold a Birthday Bash and Benefit Concert 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 19, at Palm Coast Bible Church, 94 Whiteview Parkway. There will be music, skits, testimonies, a bake sale, a love offering and performance by Nevaeh.