Monday, June 30, 2008

Today at the Shelter

Today at the Samaritan House... (I will try to do this more often.) There are 43 in the Shelter (including 7 children), 16 in the Transitional Housing and 38 people in the apartments. All apartments and beds are full and spoken for. Some of the people we are serving include:

  • A family who worked driving long-haul trucks homeless now as a result of high gas prices. With not much for a profit margin it became more and more difficult to have a successful budget. (I think the recession is real, but that would be an entirely separate blog.)
  • A single mother with a baby in Hospice. How would you handle the end of a relationship, looking for work and the impending death of your baby?
  • A single gentleman with increasingly worse Cerebral Palsy.
  • 9 individuals or families who are victims of domestic violence.
  • 3 Homeless Veterans wrestling with lingering PTSD from. Two served in Vietnam and one served in the Gulf War.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If Only It Were This Easy

I am not much of a photographer, but this struck me as funny...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Quilts

This is Mary Ruff from Kalispell. Mary made these two quilts for the shelter. It is true that the shelter has a lot of beds. Along with having a lot of beds comes the need for a lot of blankets. It is people like Mary who help make the Samaritan House what it is today.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Going the Extra Mile

This is Tony Smith and Jennifer and Kagen Cox. They lead the Kalispell Church of Christ Youth Group. In their Sunday morning classes they discussed giving of themselves without expecting anything in return. By way of practical application, the youth group toured the Samaritan House and decided they wanted to help.
They began a recycling drive to raise money for the shelter. Over the next few months they were able to recycle anything from aluminum cans to metal car parts and tractor parts. They even wrestled a really big crane radiator that was donated.
In addition to the recycling drive the group hosted a dinner and reception May 16th for the residents of the shelter. One young lady designed and printed invitations. Two other members of the youth group who are in Orchestra at school put together a small ensemble to play music for the evenings entertainment. Shelter residents were treated to a fine meal, homemade dessert and live music.
The result of their effort was $803 raised to help the Samaritan House in our efforts to feed the homeless. Going the extra mile and giving without expecting anything in return.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day

The following question was asked of everyone in the shelter by way of an anonymous survey, “What was your father like?” Some of the responses are listed as follows:
- “He was a good man. He worked hard for a living. He had five kids and we always had a roof over our heads and food on the table.”
- “My Dad was a big loser. He drank and gambled. One good thing was that he always helped me when I asked.”
- “My father was very compassionate and always cared about my feelings. He spent time with us and took us camping and to the movies etc. He was a good provider and I never went without the necessities.”
- “My father was abusive when I was younger. He passed away. I don’t have anything else to say about that.”
- “He was a very hard working man. I believe he found God and was forgiven of his sins.”
- “He was a crusty curmudgeon and that was also his nickname, Crusty Curmudgeon.”
- “He was an honorable, honest and compassionate man.”
- “I never knew my father.”
- “My father was a hard working man. He was a contractor who kept a roof over our heads and food on the table. He died young.”
- “He was strong and supportive. He taught me a trade and then betrayed me. I don’t talk to him any more and I haven’t for years.”
- “My father is very cool. He loves to make fun out of every situation that he is in. I love my father, he helps me even though I do not live with him any more.”
- “He was a good man and a hard worker who loved his family. I just wish I would have had the chance to know him sooner.”

So what was your father like? As you can see from the answers above, at the shelter the responses are about 50/50. The good answers say their father was hardworking, compassionate and a good provider. The tougher responses review their dad as a loser, abusive and even not present.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Time for Some Much Needed Yard Work

Tommorow, June 7th we will be meeting at the Armory building at 9:30 am to prune the hedges and pull weeds... it shouldn't take long and might be kind of fun. The address is 1110 2nd Street West in Kalispell.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Let's just talk about today. Today is a rainy day in the Flathead, the sort of day that is best served with a warm cup of coffee and your shoes off. The hallways are full of sounds of families and children. The phones are busy, doors opening and closing and the staff is full tilt in the business of helping the homeless.

Today there are 36 people in the shelter. This includes single gentlemen that have been homeless a long time as well as young families with children that are homeless for an unforseen reason. There are life stories ranging from illness, domestic violence and financial hardship. These include children in the families ranging from 3 months old to 16 years old.

Today there are also 67 people in the other housing here. These people are working to get on their feet, maintain a budget, increase income and meet other goals they have set. Most of these families have very slim margins for success.

This makes a total of 103 people on the campus today that are homeless or were very recently homeless.

I have received calls already today from Lamplighter Adult Mental Health, Adult Protective Services, Brendan House (the local long term nursing care home) and Neighbors in Need (the local clearing house for all types of assistance).

In the mail today I received award notice for a $1,500 grant as well as some donations from a local business and a family that routinely supports the shelter.

Today I have a meeting with a gentleman who is working to get the Samaritan House staff medical insurance, something I feel that in good responsibility all employers should at least be trying to do.

There is a leak in a pipe in the boiler room, the plumber reassures me he will be here by noon. This reminds me, I need to go empty the drip bucket.

There are three volunteers here today, as well as people stopping by to donate clothing and household items.

Today is a pretty typical day at the shelter.