CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Good Samaritan Rescue Mission began in 1953 as a little house church with only eight beds and a soup kitchen.
Since then, the facility has developed into its own community, equipped with laundry mat, living quarters, kitchen quarters and eating area. Other features include a general communal area, courtyard, coffee shop, general store, bike parking and dog kennel.
The Good Samaritan is a faith-based homeless shelter with a mission to reach out to the homeless and the working poor by using Biblical teachings and principles, and providing food, shelter, clothing, medical care, spiritual counseling, and community supportive services.
It currently operates 12 primary ministries with 23 sub-ministries.
Estimates are that there are at least 3,000 homeless residents in Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend, with fewer than than 900 beds available.
In its 64th year, the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission has grown to be the largest shelter for the homeless in this region, offering more than 200 beds to those in need.
And by not accepting any government funding, it’s free to give a bed to anyone who needs one without having to qualify.
Good Samaritan offers around-the-clock check-in with no ID card required.
The shelter has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, alcohol, or weapons on the property.
KRIS 6 News got to meet up with Good Samaritan director Carole Murphrey for a tour and learn more about its facilities and what it offers.
“There are so many homeless now, all over the nation,” Murphrey said. “We try to fill in that gap, but we’re pretty packed right now."
The Good Samaritan has 35 programs with 32 people on its staff to operate them.
“We are open around the clock, every day of the year,” she said.
The kitchen serves three meals a day, 365 days a year.
“We served over 250,000 meals out of this little, bitty hole in the wall,” she said.
The shelter's constituents develop a tight bond while there.
“We are truly a family,” she said. “A lot of people have lost everything, so they have to dream a new dream to find a new family. So we call each other ‘Uncle Barry,’ ‘Grandma Word.’ And they create a new family.”
That kinship remains constant and strong as people leave the shelter and develop their lives.
“Our dream, as they grow, and if we ever get to the next level -- that folks will be able to graduate and move out and still be able to eat here, shop in our store here, go to chapel here and still have their family,” she said.
The facility remains a faith-based institution that looks to God’s word for its inspiration and daily operation.
“The Scripture says if you're faithful and little, God will give you more,” Murphrey said. “So we’re trying to be faithful with everything that we have, and with every dollar the community gives to us.
“We’re just grateful for what we have. You’ve got to keep an attitude of gratitude."
For more information, check out Good Samaritan’s website .