Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Life as we know it has changed

Life as we know it has changed.

This is not a hyperbolic exaggeration or a metaphor to paint a picture; it is reality. You and I are living different that we were a month ago so we can take personal accountability and help save lives by abiding by precautionary measures. The COVID-19 virus is not a respecter of income or geography and it doesn’t care about your job title, politics, or last name.

One of the most important things we can do is shelter-in-place and quarantine ourselves. Social distancing polices ask us not to congregate in groups larger than 10 people and to maintain a bubble of 6 feet when we have to interact with others. For a lot of us, this might be inconvenient or tiresome, but it’s not difficult because we have homes to provide sanctuary.  But what happen if you are homeless or living in a shelter? 

Homelessness presents unique and immense challenges on its own, but this current pandemic increases every problem to potentially lethal levels. Basic things like hand-washing and sanitation prove to be life and death matters when there is no access for these amenities. 

COVID-19 or novel coronavirus has symptoms similar to the flu. People with symptoms have fevers, coughs and also shortness of breath. The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). This happens by droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes getting into another person’s mouth, nose, or lungs. If a person touches a surface, object, or a sick person’s hand that has the virus on it from the sick person’s cough/sneeze droplets, the virus can infect the well person when they touch their own mouth or nose. Most people recover without medical intervention and have mild symptoms. But certain people do face a higher risk of having more severe symptoms, including pneumonia. Those folks tend to be older, have weakened immune systems or have underlying medical conditions (things like heart or lung diseases).

Hand-washing is important, but access to hand-washing facilities is limited for folks living without shelter. Sanitizer is also effective. If someone is sick, it will help them not spread germs from their lungs or nose to other things they touch. If they are well, it will help them not pick up germs from things they touch and spread them to their mouth, nose or eyes.

Folks should do what they can to avoid touching their noses, eyes, and mouths. Cover coughs: Any cough, even if someone otherwise feels well, should be covered — not with someone’s hands but by coughing into an elbow, a mask or a bandana. As much as possible, encourage those you’re working with to limit sharing personal items, particularly cigarettes, food, phones, utensils and other items.

Use disinfectant wipes that say “kills human coronavirus” on the back. Follow the instructions on the label. Most important is to not dry off whatever is wiped with sanitizer or a wipe. Whatever is wiped will need to stay wet for the amount of time listed on the label. This step is important because that contact time is what is required to kill the germs.  Wipes can be used to clean high-touch items like phones and other surfaces.

Samaritan House is doing all we can to help provide safe shelter for those who need it. We welcome and appreciate any and all donations at this time. Thank you for partnering with us as we face a new reality together.

*Information courtesy of National Alliance to End Homelessness

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cowboy Up Benefit - Postponed

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic we have decided to postpone the upcoming 13th Annual Cowboy Up for Samaritan House Benefit.  When it is rescheduled we will let you know.  

In the meantime, we are committed to providing a safe place for the people we serve and this includes our work to address the potential spread of the virus.  We have implemented significant measures to do so...gloves, masks, hand washing (see above photo) and a rigorous schedule of cleaning all common areas.  So far, everyone is healthy and we will continue to monitor and adjust accordingly.  

The immediate impact we have experienced so far is that:
  • Demand for shelter has increased, this means that we have essentially continued our winter weather contingency plan in order to meet the rising demand for services. 
  • Employment opportunities for clients are becoming harder to find as many employers adjust to the new reality.  
  • Many people are asking how they can help. We are in need of cleaning supplies of any kind. 
  • Postponing our fundraiser will have a financial impact on Samaritan House.   
  • The latest news seems to change by the hour.
Thank you for reaching out.  Your help is appreciated.
Together we can make it though this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Winter Warm Up - January 31st at Gateway Community Center

Volunteers are still needed for this event.  
Call 406-257-5284

Monday, December 23, 2019

Four Ways You Can Help Samaritan House During the Holidays

1. Volunteer
You can volunteer to serve at meal times, or work on projects that will benefit the shelter. During the holidays, many people love to feed the homeless and assist with meals. No need to be a culinary wizard this is incredibly helpful and happens all throughout the year.  The Samaritan House Volunteer Coordinator coordinates the meals served by volunteers.  Her name is Missy and she can be reached at 406-257-5801. Currently, the last two Thursdays and Mondays of each month are available for volunteers to serve a dinner meal. 

2. Take a tour
Taking a tour of the shelter is educational and informative.  Many times, when people take a tour of our facilities they say that they have learned more about homelessness in Flathead County and mention new and innovative ways that they can help.  It's fun for everyone.   

3. Donate household items or items from our Needs List
Donated items such as dishes, furniture and most any type of household items can be donated and are tax deductible.  Samaritan House staff keep a consistent and changing Needs List of items that are needed at the shelter.  
Here are a few ideas of things that would really help Samaritan House:
Clorox Wipes
Laundry Detergent
Three Shower Curtains
Towels, wash rags, hand towels
Office Supplies

4. Donate Money
Giving money will provide clothing, education, food, and shelter. It will help the homeless in more ways than you may realize and the more money that is given, the more services and help can be provided. There are several ways that you can donate.  
You can donate on our website: 
On our blog:  
On the Facebook page:
Or you can Venmo money to Samaritan House, scan this code.

Or you can donate to Samaritan House via PayPal.  

Whatever your holiday traditions are we want to thank you for taking 
time to consider Samaritan House during the Holidays!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Homelessness and Sleep Deprivation

Conventional wisdom says that the average adult should aim to get about eight hours of sleep each night. Children need significantly more sleep time while older adults may manage with less. Before the invention of effective artificial lighting, the cycle of night and day regulated sleeping patterns. People worked during the daylight hours and when night fell they went to bed.

But what happens if you are not able to get the proper amount of sleep necessary for a healthy lifestyle? One of the things we are proud of at Samaritan House, is that our residents are able to get a good night sleep. Sleep deprivation causes difficulties for everyone, regardless of where you live, but the homeless are at higher risk of not getting the proper amount of sleep.

The fact that you become tired and need to sleep at times proves that this is vital to the body's functioning. Just as you need to eat and drink a certain amount and exercise to stay healthy the same applies to sleep. The optimum sleep time varies between individuals, but if an average person gets less than six hours of solid sleep each night, they are sleep deprived. Your body needs this rest to recoup energy expended during the day. A serious lack of sleep weakens the immune system to increase the likelihood of infection. This is compounded for children, who need even more sleep than adults. Many homeless children are more susceptible to becoming physically run-down when they can't sleep.

Lack of sufficient sleep makes a person grumpy and irritable. It is easy to say or do things you later regret if overtiredness prevents you from thinking before speaking or acting. Consider how many business and social relationships disintegrate because one party says or does something without sufficient forethought. A good night's sleep ensures that you are much better equipped to respond well to the challenges that invariably come up in human dealings. Applying and interviewing for jobs when sleep deprived is a tough obstacle to overcome.

While genetic and diet factors are key determinants of whether or not an individual is prone to develop diabetes, lack of sleep also plays a role. According to some studies, getting sufficient sleep helps the body process glucose. If you usually sleep less than five hours per night, your body is unable to effectively perform this function and risks of developing type 2 diabetes increases.

When you invest in Samaritan House, you help change lives in real and practical ways like helping families and individuals get a restful night sleep so they can face a future with hope.

-resources from

Monday, March 4, 2019

Current Needs

This February 33.2 inches of snow fell in Kalispell, making it the snowiest February on record. Daytime temperatures hovered in the low single digits and the wind chill plummeted well below zero on several occasions. And while winter weather in the Flathead might fluctuate between nasty and brutal, our needs at Samaritan House remain consistent. Here are some items we can always use.

Temporary beds like the one pictured above.  We at Samaritan house feel that bunk beds offer less dignity and respect but are in need of adding more beds. ($129 at WalMart.)  This will give us more ability to flex as demands rise in the colder months.

Donations of warm socks, and boots. Our residents might begin and end their days in the shelter, but they also spend a great portion of their time outside the shelter pursuing employment opportunities as well as going to jobs they have. Many of them walk or rely on public transportation so warm gear is a lifesaver.

Toilet paper and bathroom supplies are also coveted and appreciated. These items are easy to take for granted when they are always on hand, but imagine what it would be like if you need them but don't have them. Personal hygiene is essential to fostering feelings of self confidence and if these items are donated, we are able to use our resources for other things we need.

Cleanliness is an important (as well as state-mandated!) virtue for us so we also really appreciate cleaning supplies. We want to do our best to provide a clean environment for our residents, staff, volunteers, and guests. Spending a great deal of our time in community necessitates keeping things clean and sanitary to reduce the risk of sickness.

All of these items are appreciated because we use them often. Thanks for all that you do to make Samaritan House a place that meets the needs of its residents on a daily basis. Treating people with dignity and respect are important to us and you help us do that. If you have any questions, please call our office.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

12th Annual Cowboy Up for Samaritan House Auction

Where were you 12 years ago?

It's an interesting question because we tend to focus on the present and the future, but sometimes the past gets little fanfare. And, "Why 12 years?", you might ask? Because in a few weeks it will be the 12th annual Cowboy Up Benefit for Samaritan House. We have been hosting this fundraiser as long as it takes a child to go from Kindergarten to Graduation. And it's been quite a journey for us, as well. We are honored to host this Auction and the longevity of this event shows its importance.

This year's event will be held at Gardner's Auction, which provides an ideal venue for all we have to offer. Single tickets can be purchased for only $40 or a table for 8 can be reserved for $300. Doors open at 5 pm and an incredible dinner will be served at 6 pm. Use this opportunity to catch up with friends while having a wonderful time and donating to an important cause.

Because that's what this is really about- there is a point to be made and lives to be changed. There are a thousand different things you can spend or invest your hard-earned money on but none might count so much as this Auction in regards to saving lives.

Yes, there will be phenomenal music by Smart Alex. You will have a great time and enjoy yourself dancing the night away. And the auction items are worth the experience by themselves, with a wide variety sure to tickle anyone's fancy- there will e something for everyone. But the entire night is a reminder that homelessness in the Flathead Valley is a real issue. We gather to raise money and resources so we can provide opportunities to change lives. This will be an epic night with so many wonderful moving parts aimed at a singular goal: Addressing homelessness in our community so that our community will be strengthened.

You can play a part in this and we hope to see you there! Please call our office if you have any questions regarding the auction or this night.