Spreading Christmas Cheer
Good Samaritan Network Annual Christmas Drive Returns Dec. 8 to Hamilton County 4H Fairgrounds
The Good Samaritan Network (GSN), which is a collaborative of nonprofits that assist at-risk and underserved families in Hamilton County, was founded in 1980 by Nancy Chance, a long-time member of the community.
Chance, who was well-known for her work with child abuse victims, founded GSN when firemen from Fishers, Noblesville and Carmel approached her, seeking a centralized system for the distribution of holiday-season baskets.
“I started the program and became the central hub of the distributions,” Chance says. “I have always been passionate about people, so I wasn’t intimidated. I wanted to help solve the community’s problems. When the community decided something had to be done, they saw me as the solution.”
According to Chance, everyone in Hamilton County works together for the greater good, and there is no other community like it. Years back, Hamilton County even received an award for being one of the most innovative counties in the country.
“We [GSN] want to take care of people and do a good job,” Chance adds. “We communicate constantly through monthly meetings so that we keep everyone on the same page. We have so many people that need our services, and we want to make sure everyone gets their fair share of support.”
With values and aspirations centered around serving the physical, financial and emotional needs of the community, volunteers are always needed. Those with an interest in volunteering can visit gsnlive.org and signup.
According to Chance, a community thrives when its residents can provide for themselves and their families. Meeting the needs of people in emergency situations is GSN’s passion.
Last year, GSN served about 26,000 families between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Chance. This year, on December 8 at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds, GSN will hold their annual Christmas Drive.
“It’s a distribution,” Chance says. “Not a handout. About 10,000 or so families will come – and all these people are working multiple jobs – and the fairgrounds are all set up like a giant store, so the families can go through and pick out clothes and food, and the children can pick out toys, anything the family might need.”
According to Chance, it’s priceless for families to receive help for their children at Christmas, as well as for the parents to receive much-needed food. And through this, the families are teaching their kids to reach across the lines and help those in their community.
“People that have an opportunity to share monetary means have the opportunity to give something to a child or family in their community – it’s truly a blessing,” she says.
GSN also provides Christmas Eve Meal Deliveries to “elderly, disabled or shut-in Hamilton County residents.” The registration deadline is Dec. 1.
GSN is located at 12933 Parkside Drive in Fishers. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. The organization can also be reached via phone at 317-842-2603.