Last fall Good Samaritan Ministries received a visit from the Diocese of Helena's Bishop, George Leo Thomas. Good Samaritan's mission of social justice is one that is close to the Bishop's heart. After taking a tour, he was able to sit and visit with our staff members, the main priority of his visit. Catholic Extension Society, a national organization committed to Catholic missions like Good Samaritan Ministries, was able to be there to film the visit. Below is the video they compiled on the visit and the Bishop's mission to serve the poor.
Our favorite quote of Bishop Thomas’ from the video which was also a sentiment he echoed when he visited with us:
“I quoted St. Augustine and he says in just a very few words what I believe so strongly in; He says ‘If you look deeply enough in the eyes of any person there you will see something that is divine’… And I think that summarizes the heart of Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic Social Outreach and our Ministry to the poor. That every person is made in Gods image, every person has inherent value, and part of our mission is to help our brothers and sisters recognize Christ in every face that they see
For more from Catholic Extension Society visit their website!
What are you thankful for? Thanksgiving is a time to stop and reflect on our blessings. There are the obvious blessings like family, friends, and good health and then there are the less obvious ones, the things we count on having every day such as shelter, food, shoes, and clothing. The holiday season is a time to remember those who go without these things we take for granted. A toothbrush or blanket may not seem like a big deal, but to a homeless individual or a family struggling to pay their bills, it is. That is where Good Samaritan Ministries comes in. Our assistance ministry is funded by private donations and small grants. We at Good Samaritan can help these people solely because of your generous donations since. This thanksgiving, and all year long, we want to thank you for your generous support. We are so grateful our community has caring people like each and every one of you! Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you!
Our Assistance hours are 9am to 4pm Monday through Thursday. However peoples' needs are not limited to those hours. This past weekend, GSM received a call on Saturday from a family member needing help with a sibling who was currently homeless. This man had been sleeping in public restrooms or other such places. He was hungry, cold, and overwhelmed, unable to help himself- completely at the mercy of the elements.
Via text and phone calls most of Saturday, family and GSM discussed options that could provide him a bed out of the cold, food and shelter while keeping in mind the need for future treatment plans in a supportive environment. Another agency was called into the conversation. This agency provides beds in a neighborhood house for men in the similar situations, of trying to rebuild their lives. By staying at this house, individuals agree to set goals, live by rules, and have a job. As luck would have it,the agency had an available bed, and since this man had recently secured a job the program would work for him and be a much better option than a hotel room. The bed and house were ready that evening, GSM agreed to pick up the first month’s rent for the man so he would be able to save his initial month of paychecks for the next month, or for treatment once all falls in place. His family also agreed to help with next month’s rent if necessary and GSM would be another resource for future supports as well. This is a perfect example of how family, social service supports, and the individual's own efforts all can work together for the goal of independence and community integration. We get so much more accomplished if we attack the problem of homelessness together.
At the grocery store the other day, I ran into "Bill", an old friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. I first met Bill when we hired him at Good Samaritan eight years ago. He had just gotten out of prison and was looking for a new start. Bill was a responsible, hardworking guy and knew what he wanted. Shortly after working with us, he followed his dreams by getting a job at a car dealership.
The first few months after leaving, we kept in touch, I even went with him to court for support. But, as often happens, we lost track of each other after a while. So seeing him eight years later, beaming at me across that grocery aisle, was a lovely surprise.
Bill told me how he has been at the same job for eight years, gotten back with his girlfriend and is beyond happy with his life right now. He didn’t need to add the last part, I could tell from his demeanor it was true. In our work, there is a lot of heartbreak, but also a lot of blessings. This was one of those blessings…seeing the fruit of seeds planted long ago. Bill worked so hard to successfully return to his community after some mistakes. Good Samaritan was there to believe in him and support him, and here was the end product…a true success story.
Re-entry efforts have always been part of Good Samaritan's mission, from employing pre-release residents, to providing returning citizens with clothing and other needs.
After saying goodbye to Bill, I continued with my shopping. Later I spied him in another aisle, conversing cheerfully with a fellow patron...an image that stays with me…one of a man who overcame his past and is now again truly part of his community.
The above story was originally published in our Mission Moments email newsletter December 2nd, 2015
The following story was originally published in our Mission Moments e-newsletter, November 6, 2015
“John” was a young service member in the National Guard. Most kids have family to guide them in the transition to being an adult in the working world, but not “John.” He was in the “system” and once he turned 18, was expected to make his own way without a safety net. Thankfully “John” had the military, which gave him the confidence to start building his life. He was able to buy a used car on the cheap from a friend, which enabled him to get back and forth on his weekends and work. He was determined to save and get ahead, however, when the car registration expired he was not able to renew the registration on his limited income. Needing to have transportation for drill and work, he was forced to drive, thus, racking up tickets for expired tags. Keeping up with ticket fees and his necessary living expenses prevented him from getting ahead. Good Samaritan was there to break this vicious cycle. GSM helped “John” with the fees involved in getting the car registered, and registration. With that burden taken care of, he is no longer in debt and paying fees. More importantly, “John” gained Good Samaritan as another support system to lift him up and help him navigate this world.
GSM Mission Moments
Success stories from our Mission. You can be a help us build our roots by supporting Good Samaritan and those in need in Helena .