In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast and left thousands of folks in need. Two of the founders of this group went down there for a week doing volunteer work. It was a life changing experience. The idea was born to bring back that type of love to the folks in our own Memphis community.
We live in a city with extreme poverty. There are those in our city who live in houses that look as if they were hit by a hurricane. We have found leaking roofs, sheet rock ceilings falling in, leaking plumbing, sagging floors, broken windows, and so on. We have even found handicap folks living in homes with no ramps to get in and out. How can those who follow Christ not have compassion on those who live in homes that look as if they were hit by a hurricane?
We believe that Jesus is the ultimate example of service. He showed us how to love God and love man. Everywhere he went, he went healing those in need. In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), Jesus told us the story of a man who helped a total stranger. Jesus said "go and do likewise."
There are two passages that describe the end of time. One is Mathew 25 where Jesus describes the end of time; by saying it is like when the shepherd separates the sheep form the goats. The ones that are pleasing to God at the judgment day were those who in this life had compassion on those who were sick, imprisoned, hungry, and in need of clothing. Jesus says when you helped the helpless, it was as if you were doing it to me.
The other passage that talks about the end of time tells the story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus, who sat at the rich man’s gate in need. After the rich man died, he found himself in torment for his lack of compassion.
The point of these stories is inescapable. Those who want to be pleasing to God must live as Jesus lived and serve those in need. The Sunday Samaritans group believes that Jesus intended for us to be his hands and feet and show his love.
We attempt to do this in our community by doing essential home repairs, yard work, and so on for the elderly, handicapped, and poor. We have done roofing, sheet rock repairs, plumbing repairs, shower wall repairs, sagging floor repairs, painting inside and out, broken glass replacement, rotten wood replacement, wood burning stove pipe installation, fence and gate repairs, handicap ramps construction, yard work, mowing, clean ups, and did I mention painting… lots of painting, re-vamped a community playground, cut trees and limbs, pulled weeds, and did I mention painting?
Sometimes we will have a "Gatorade Sunday". When the temperature reaches 97+ degrees, we go and hand out ice cold Gatorade to the men and women selling Sunday papers on the street corners. In the winter, we sometimes have "Hot Chocolate Sunday". We take hot chocolate to the paper salespersons. Oh, and sometimes we have fun, in fact almost all the time we have fun! (Check out our photos of projects.)
We are not a church, a ministry of any church, or a government agency and therefore we have no funding. All the labor is donated by volunteers and building materials are provided by those who volunteer or others who hear what we are doing and want to help.
The volunteers are diverse made up of followers of Christ who are:
- From different denominations
- Both men and women
- Various ages (teenagers to elderly)
- Of different racial backgrounds
- Skilled to unskilled workers (only requirement - a desire to serve and learn)
We meet once a month on a Sunday afternoon at 12:30 and have a sandwich together. (BYOS- bring your own sandwich). We then go in convoy to the home where we will be working. We have a trailer that was donated, full of tools that were donated. When the work trailer arrives, we go to work. Some short on time meet us at the home.
The folks we help must own or be buying their home, (we do not fix rental homes, because we feel this is the responsibility of the landlord.) We help any one in need regardless of race, creed, or color. You do not have to be a Christian nor go to any church.There are no costs and no "strings attached". If you will allow us, we like to gather in a circle at the end of the day and say a prayer to thank God for allowing us to work that day, and that His love will continue to bless you.
If you want to help you can come and join us. No experience is necessary. Take a free test drive. There are no fees, dues, or expenses. You only need a heart to serve. Warning: you may just get hooked on helping others. If not, come when you can. However, you must be 18 years of age or accompanied by an adult. (Sorry no 5-years-olds on the end of a 30 foot ladder. ) Contact us and we will put you on the email list, and then just show up in work clothes.
If you would like to donate to help with building materials, we sure could use the help. No one is paid a dime, we are all volunteers. We have no funding except what the volunteers donate themselves, or what some one wishes to donate. We can only do repairs that are fairly inexpensive that we can afford (one time we did roof an entire house).