Food for Needy Families: DBU Alumna Sara Kenefake is New Executive Director of Good Samaritans of Garland

house in Garland, Texas with be a good sam sign in yard

"I wouldn't be who I am today without DBU," says Sara Kenefake, who graduated Cum Laude from DBU in 2008 with her B.A. in Christian Studies. From the constant excitement of dorm life and the spiritual emphasis of weekly chapels, to the fun events hosted by Student Life, to the annual traditions of Christmas Tree Lighting and Great Pumpkin Chase, Sara enjoyed life on University Hill to the fullest. "I loved campus life! The classes, however, were life-changing for me. I loved all my professors, many of whom attended my wedding. The professors, especially in my major, not only taught me so much, but shaped me into the person I am today."

Kenefake family

Sara also met her husband, David, during their first semester at DBU in the cafeteria, and the two were married after graduation. They have been married for 15 years now and have two kids: Dean (12) and Lillie (10).

Sara was serving at her church for 11 years when it had to close in 2020. She wanted to remain in her community and discovered an opening at Good Samaritans of Garland, the only food pantry serving the city and surrounding areas. Sara started as an administrative assistant and then pivoted to the role of Volunteer Services Manager, creating and implementing a new system to bring in more volunteers and update the food distribution system to feed more families.

Later, Sara transitioned to become the Community Engagement Director and in that first month coordinated efforts to raise $50,000 for a larger truck. "I'm very proud of the way the community came together in the Spring to raise money for a larger truck. We are now able to go to the North Texas Food Bank every day and get 10,000 pounds of food. We're also able to add more grocery stores to our daily pick-up route." At the beginning of this year, Sara received the honor to step in as the new Executive Director of this non-profit ministry that has become so dear to her servant heart.

Serving Garland for over 40 years, and open five days a week, Good Samaritans currently does not place any restrictions on who receives food, whether zip code, income, or immigration status. "If you need food, we'll get you food, and you will feel welcomed and seen when you come through our doors," she says. A family or individual can come every two weeks for a cart of food, which contains a box of canned/dry goods, produce, meat, milk, eggs, bread, and a sweet or two. Now serving over 4,800 families a day, Sara and her team of staff and volunteers work hard to bring in roughly 15,000 pounds of food each day, preparing 300 plus carts in a small, 2,000 sq. ft. house on N. 12th Street.

Good Samaritans of Garland truck

This past year, Good Samaritans also added a Weekend Bag Program. "We are currently in two schools in Garland ISD providing bags filled with breakfast, lunch, and snack items for the weekend. These go to students who receive free breakfast and lunch during the school week. We will be expanding this program in 2024 and hope to be in more schools to help more kids."

"Helping and serving my community is my passion," she says, "and I am called to do so at ‘Good Sam'."

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.