State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

Mercy Programs at The Good Samaritan Inn

Growing better together as a community through daily nourishment and job skills training programs.

The Good Samaritan Inn meets multiple unmet needs in the Decatur community. We have been the only free meal program in Decatur for 35 years and in the past 5 years have begun offering job skills training programs to low income residents of our community. Mercy Programs is a field to fork job skills training program which aids students in refining their soft skills in a horticultural and culinary setting. This program allows participants the opportunity to obtain their food handlers certification to be ready to immediately gain employment in any restaurant nationally. This program introduces students to hands on experiences in both the horticultural field as well as the culinary world simultaneously. Students attend classes 4 days a week, 2 classes are focus on soft skills refinement, one day one horticulture and culinary skills with an instructor from RCC. The collaboration with Richland Community College is a vital component of this program to bridge students to their programming.

Mercy Programs is well on its way to becoming a sustainable program ran as a traditional business operates and being able to pay salaries and wages through sales of our produce to outside sources, and plan to meet that goal within 3 years. The Inn consumes over 15,000 servings of fruits and vegetables monthly, once we are able to meet that need consistently we will begin running in the black, until then we need opportunities such as the State Farm Neighbor Assist grant to help us pay wages to graduates of our programs, buy needed materials for the gardens and growing areas, continue to provide free job skills training programs to residents of Decatur, and help to revitalize our neighborhood which is one of the oldest in Decatur. Mercy Programs has been operating for 4 years and has seen a 95% employment rate upon completion of our programs. Mercy Programs uses the food produced in the gardens to supply the free noon meal program to serve a healthier more balanced meal to our patrons.

Mercy Programs is designed to help teach low income families how to build a life for themselves and their families, and focuses on helping them become self sufficient members of our community by building them up as we teach them these invaluable life skills.This money would help residents with families obtain a skill set and get out of the poverty loop, effecting many generations to come, as well as ensuring we are able to continue offering these resources to members of our community who need it most.