LAURINBURG — Leaders of next month’s Silent Samaritan Society effort to raise money for the Scotland Family Counseling Center are encouraging others to join their number — but only for the right reasons.
In keeping with the story of the Good Samaritan, who was never named, those who attend the society’s March 3 luncheon and fundraising appeal will not see their names printed on any program or plaque.
“If it’s the right thing, you don’t want to say no,” said Whit Gibson, who with his wife Tammie is returning from last year to lead the Silent Samaritans. “We thought this is really a worthwhile endeavor, and we’ve always liked that concept: every once in a while you get an opportunity to do something for somebody that nobody else knows about, and you have a good feeling about that.”
The society aims to raise $25,000 for the Scotland Family Counseling Center, a nonprofit organization that provides faith-based counseling services for those coping with depression, anxiety, grief, and substance abuse. The center also provides services to children referred by school guidance counselors and pediatricians, taking the approach of allowing children to create and connecting with them through their own drawings or their methods of play.
The center was founded in 2007 as a one day per week service provided at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church. Since then, it has grown into its own office on Medical Drive, where it serves clients every weekday and continues to expand its staff to fulfill a constantly growing need in the area.
“I personally, and most people I know have had some event in their life that they needed help with — and that may have come from a close friend or a great parental relationship or a pastor, but there are so many times that people don’t have that relationship or what they want to talk about is so personal that they may not want to share it with somebody that they know that well, and they want an opinion that is a little more objective,” Gibson said.
This year’s co-leaders are Gary and Terry Gallman, who will take the Silent Samaritan Society’s helm next year. As a former minister, Gallman testified to the unmet need for counseling services — which exists in part due to stigmas surrounding mental and emotional health.
“For most people it was a pride thing and there was a shame factor and all of those things,” he said. “A lot of times you had to really talk before you could get them to the point where they were willing to talk.”
The monies raised will be used to pay for services to families who cannot pay for the full cost of services, or who need more treatment than their insurance will cover. Tammie Gibson said that the center’s ability to serve those in need regardless of their ability to pay helps alleviate additional financial burdens to families who are already struggling.
“Can you imagine how heavy that weighs on them,” she said. “They’re to the point where they want to come to counseling, they know they need counseling, but they can’t afford it.”
The Silent Samaritan Society will meet at noon on March 3 in the W.R. Dulin Center on the Scotland Memorial Hospital campus.
For information or to RSVP, call 910-276-7011. The website for the counseling center is scotlandcounseling.org.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.