The Talladega institution supported by local churches, clubs and individuals only had two visitors by 11 a.m.
Two women in their 50s and 60s came in for food and clothing, and like many who come by, it wasn’t their first visit.
But often, no matter the number of visits, and no matter the need, volunteers and staff try and find a way to help.
The Samaritan House has provided food, clothing and other needs for people in the community since forming in 1988.
Concerned citizens, church representatives and others formed the charitable organization and have worked since to provide assistance through what are largely volunteer efforts.
There are just two paid staff members, director Marlene Hannah and treasurer, Jane Goodson.
Volunteers usually come in pairs each morning to help with people who come in, there’s a schedule arranged with area churches whose members help with staffing, said John Ford, a long time volunteer and now president for The Samaritan House.
Most days bring more visitors who need help than donations, but Wednesday included a stop from Gary Tankersly from Comfort Care Hospice, dropping off donations of canned food collected by the health care provider.
“He asked is we could use it, and I told him that’s how we survive,” Hannah said.
It wasn’t long before staff had the canned vegetables stacked on the shelves, awaiting the next person who might need food.
But there are always needs at the small block building that houses the ministry, things like funding and food and clothing and more hands to help out, Hannah said.
The Samaritan House also needs a new commercial cooler, a donation would be an outstanding gift.
Some days, people who come in have to be content to take home less than they came for.
“There are days, for instance, when we really don’t have any meat,” Hannah said.
“That’s just how it is.”
The ministry hopes to help people learn to help themselves, that’s why there are guidelines to govern how many times a year the same person can receive goods.
“But we just let the lord handle it,” Hannah said.
With each bag of groceries or goods, volunteers include inspirational information provided by local churches.
“It shows why we do this,” Hannah said.
Last year, The Samaritan House provided assistance for 2,592 families. So far this year, approximately 853 families have received assistance.
The Samaritan House is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until noon.
Ford said there are many times people who have received a helping hand have returned to repay the favor.
“Lots of people who come are so embarrassed to have to ask for help,” Ford said.
“They’ve worked all their lives and now they have to find help.”
Being able to help people is what keeps the volunteers coming, he said.
“That’s what puts smiles on our faces,” he said. “