Monday, October 31, 2011

Who we are.

What is Samaritan House? Its an easy question.

I posed this question to Samaritan House Executive Director, Chris Krager, and his reply was, "We're finding that our community visibility is somewhat low. The good news is that there is always room for improvement."

Curiously, I began to wonder what people around the Flathead Valley thought of us. It is no stretch to say that our reputation is very positive in certain circles. Many of our residents travel from great distances hoping to find an open bed simply based on word of mouth within the homeless community. The Montana Veteran's Affairs office is always referring people to us because of the dedication and care exhibited by our staff.

But what about Kalispell? What about people who are not homeless? Does anyone out there even know we exist? I put my existential crisis on hold and thought it might be nice to find out, so I hit the street (metaphorically) and asked people what they thought about Samaritan House and a few other issues.

Here are the interviews dealing with Samaritan House. The rest of the segments will be up on this site soon. Much thanks to Ruth Krager for filming and editing these.

The end is the beginning

Last Friday Samaritan House concluded the Fourth Friday Concert Series. We had some great music and food and raised a few bucks. Thanks to all of you that came out and supported us. But now the question becomes, "what now?"

November and December are notoriously difficult times to plan end-of-the-month functions because people are busy and time is a precious commodity that seems to be sparse around the holidays. Fair enough. Planning and executing a fundraiser that no one will attend is both frustrating and insane so here's the plan...

Samaritan House will be launching a freshly formatted event in the new year. We are unsure of what it will look like or how it will appear, but it will be revamped in a such a way that you will be happy to attend. Please stay tuned for the updates and other blogs on this site.

Also, our Fall Newsletter has been sent off to the press so it should be arriving shortly in a mailbox near you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fourth Friday Lunch and Concert

On Friday, October 28, from 12-1pm, Samaritan House is happy to present local musician Allie Andrews in conjunction with our final Fourth Friday Concert event. Originally from Orlando, Allie has been a resident of the Flathead Valley for 4 years. I won't try to compare her to other artists because, frankly, she is better than anyone I have heard in a long time and I feel others should be compared to her.

Allie draws inspiration from hiking, camping, and she is a avid snowboarder. Her reading tastes are eclectic, ranging from G.K. Chesterton to instructional manuals, depending on what mood she is in. Lyrics are vital to Allie and a message of unconditional love resounds when she performs. Please watch the interview and visit the link to see Allie's video for her song, 'Knock 'em Down.'

Please check back tomorrow because we will have an exclusive interview with Allie, but for now, YOU SHOULD REALLY take the time to watch her video for 'Knock em Down!'

Knock em Down

Come and join us on Friday, October 28, from noon -1pm at the Samaritan House Administrative Center, 1110 2nd Street West in Kalispell. A delicious lunch will be provided for a donation of $10 and the proceeds help Samaritan House immensely. Here is a preview of Friday's menu:

Homemade Rustic New Potato Soup
Belgian Creme Fresh Broccoli Soup
Country House Salad
Oven Baked Butter Rolls
Coco Chocolate Cake

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ten things to remember.

Top Ten lists are fun.

They give us a chance to reflect on a topic and then vehemently disagree with the author as we compile our own mental checklist that would be far superior. Sometimes we are angered or inspired by them. Perhaps they even knock a few cobwebs loose from the recesses of our memories and we recall things that we imagined were long gone. They elicit emotions.

So, in the tradition of great Top Ten lists (please forgive me, Letterman), I submit a list of childhood memories that are fun to remember. Also... I would love to hear from some of you (crickets chirping in the background). What are some childhood memories that you would like to share? Feel free to comment.

Top 10 Childhood Memories:
10. Fifth grade gym class... the day I won the dodgeball tournament vanquishing Josh G. to the annuls of loserdome. Finally.

9. Tying my little sister to the closet door with a slinky. (everyone loves a slinky).

8. Sitting on the porch waiting for my dad to get home from work just so I could run up and give him a hug.

7. The first time I watched Red Dawn. Then the second... and the third...

6. Mom's. Homemade. Ravioli. Dinners.

5. Going to my grandfather's farm and hanging out with him while I thought I was working but was really just getting in the way. Remembering his laugh and smile.

4. Vacations at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

3. The time I convinced my sister that I was a vampire for three days.

2. Super Mario Brothers.

1. Thinking that everyone, everywhere, was as happy as I was.

It's a shame reality rarely matches fantasy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Do I know you?

Often, when I meet someone for the first time, they get a funny look in their eye, tilt their head slightly and then ask if we've met before. I'm used to it by now but I am sorry there are (at least) a few other people going through life being mistakenly taken for me. I wonder if they get stopped in the supermarket and asked similar questions by people I have had fleeting conversations with?

Or how about when someone says you remind them of someone else? Ouch. All those years spent cultivating your personality and style and belief system just to be compared to some random stranger who has probably been doing the same thing just a few streets over from where you live.

Uniqueness is an idea that many people pride themselves on. We like being set apart from the rest of the herd and we point out the differences between ourselves and others with ferocity. So, how do you think I felt a few years ago when 3 different people called me within a 5-minute window to tell me there was a baseball game on TV and a guy in the stands, sitting behind home plate, looked "exactly like me." I was indignant until I checked for myself and saw this handsome devil who could have been my twin (except that I loathe the Atlanta Braves).

Strike two for the ego.

Why do many of us crave this sense of individuality? Are we born like this? Did our life's story and experiences do this? Both or none of the above? I'm not saying that its good or bad; just that it seems to be. Some cultures express and emphasize this more than others, but we're Americans and this trait is in our bloodline...our DNA. We like to stand out.

Well... sometimes.

I see a lot of people everyday who don't want attention drawn to their circumstances. They try to blend and morph into the backdrop of society so others won't notice them. Maybe its fear or embarrassment. Maybe its the remembrance that they, too, once loved standing out. Perhaps there is no worse feeling than marginalization for someone who is used to being lauded.

So, as the holidays approach (yikes), I humbly urge you to take some time and recognize those people who might be hiding because standing out has gone from a spotlight to a prison sentence.