Be a Good Samaritan


Many Jacksonians know about N.U.T.S. (Neat Used Things for Sale), but they don't know about the social organization behind the trendy thrift store, the Good Samaritan Center. When Good Samaritan Center was founded in 1972, their goal was to assist families in need by practical means. Often assisting with bill payments and social services, Good Sam, as it is affectionately called, has been a place for the down and out to find a helping hand.

"People are referred here to get what we call a fresh start," says Joanna Puddister, volunteer coordinator and public relations director. "Our caseworkers are well versed and frequently call around to find out what is going on in the community."

Good Sam sponsors several programs in the Jackson area, including a school supply drive, during which they raise funding to provide school supplies to children in Jackson Public Schools classrooms. Last year, Good Sam was able to supply 800 students with school supplies, and Puddister says that they plan to increase that number to 1,200 for the 2007-2008 school year.

"We want to focus on people who really do have a need," Puddister says. "The best way to respect someone is to give them the best that you can provide."

Good Sam not only offers financial aid and counsel, but they also sponsor a food pantry and clothing closet. The items in both places are free of charge to those in need. After items are donated to Good Sam, volunteers and staff go through and decide what their clients can use, and the things that don't fit the bill are sent over to N.U.T.S.

N.U.T.S. is located around the corner from Good Sam on Millsaps Avenue and is a haven for style-seeking Jacksonians on the prowl for "neat" things. When you go to N.U.T.S., you're not only purchasing for yourself; proceeds go to Good Sam and its clients.

If Jacksonians are looking for a way to get involved, Puddister says that they are short-staffed and need hands that are willing to help.

"Money is the last thing on our list," she says. "We need people."

For more information about Good Sam, or to volunteer your help, contact Joanna Puddister at 601-355-6276.


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