From a Simple Clothing Ministry to Feeding Hundreds of Thousands
In 1989 Samaritan House, an outreach of Fellowship Bible Church of NWA, was started in Rogers to provide clothing to the poor in the community. The founders were quickly inundated with donated clothing that exceeded the capacity of the initial space and a decision was made to transition to a food pantry instead. Over the next 10 years, the ministry outgrew two additional locations until it located in a small commercial shopping center on Hudson Road where it served 50-60 families each week.
A core group of volunteers/supporters soon began to dream about the possibility of expanding beyond a food pantry to become a ministry focusing on the whole person – body, mind, spirit. A strategic plan was developed and in June 2002, with the blessing of our founding church, the name was changed from Samaritan House to Samaritan Community Center, and we became an independent, 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization.
As a show of support for SCC, Fellowship purchased the former Hudson Foods hatchery complex on Hudson Road in Rogers, remodeled it and gifted the facility to us in 2003. That same year Debbie Rambo, who had been volunteering at “Samaritan House” alongside her husband for many years, was hired as the first Executive Director of Samaritan Community Center, a position she still holds today.
Program Growth and Management Philosophy
Over the last 14 years, our organization has grown to include multiple programs and locations, including a Springdale operations center opened in 2004, and two Samaritan Shop resale stores, located in Rogers and Springdale, that provide financial support to our overall center operations.
The Samaritan Community Center operates using a team management philosophy. In addition to the Senior Leadership Team of Debbie Rambo (Executive Director), Maxie Carpenter (Director of Operations), and Mary Mann (Director of Community Relations), each program is operated utilizing a paid staff coordinator to oversee program operations and coordination of our more than 400 regularly scheduled volunteers. Our governing board consists of 10 members from across Northwest Arkansas including pastors, business leaders and civic-minded individuals.
How We Are Funded
Organizational funding is diverse and includes individual donors, church financial support, corporate/foundation grants, in-kind donations, and proceeds from our resale store sales. Financial information is audited annually by an outside CPA firm. The Samaritan Community Center is also a member organization of the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability.
“It has been such a blessing to watch how God has worked over the last 14 years,” says Debbie Rambo. “His timing has been perfect as we have seen amazing things happen from exponential growth in financial support, volunteer support, and programs we have been able to offer the public. When I think of how we have grown from serving those initial 50-60 families each week in Rogers to serving that many families each day in both Rogers and Springdale, I am humbled at how HE has guided and grown this ministry.”
“Our ultimate goal is to live out those core values of doing justly and loving mercy while walking humbly with Him. We want our client families to know love and feel love when they come to the Samaritan Community Center. Nothing warms my heart more than to have someone tell me that this place is SO different!”