Pictured above: Our Assistance Coordinator, Corbin, prepares a small food box for a family from our food pantry.
Did you know Good Samaritan Assistance Office has a small food pantry- it comes in handy on lots of occasions for the clientele who visit our office.
This young lady had come in for help to avoid an eviction. After hearing how she had lost her job a few months ago, and was struggling to find a new one in the midst of caring for her two children by herself, since her husband also left her, we were able to write a voucher for her rent that month. Before she left, I asked if she needed anything else- coats? diapers? maybe a food box?
At the mention of a food box her eyes welled up with tears. She explained she was so worried about making ends meet and feeding her children was her biggest priority. She applied for SNAP but was currently in the waiting period for the benefits to start. How to feed her family was weighing on her mind, and she didn't know we had food- it was a godsend!
I collected the items for her, and also some information about Helena Food Share. Before she left she gave me a hug. "Thank you, you've helped me so much today!"
Many times, our office will be the first place people come when they are in crisis,and like the story shared above, it often comes up in the visit that they are in need of food as well.The food box is only meant to last a few days and we provide referrals to other food sources such as Helena Food Share or the Office of Public Assistance for SNAP benefits when we distribute the boxes. Often we aren't the only place a client visits on their road to self sufficiency. A small box of food items helps fortify them and give them the strength to go on.
Good Samaritan Ministries is not just a thrift store and social service office, but also serves as a vocational training facility. Our store employs approximately 30 full time employees, including employees with developmental disabilities, those coming out of the pre-release or state prison, and those with poor job histories needing a second chance.
Our Mission is based on Catholic social teaching which believes one should uphold the dignity and rights of the worker, a crucial part of which is access to healthcare. We are lucky to provide a great benefit package through the Diocese of Helena, Reta Trust.
All full time employees have full health care coverage with vision and dental. Many of our employees have never had the opportunity to have such benefits. Our insurance is structured to ensure each person get the best possible opportunities to improve their individual health care.
With our insurance comes a Wellness incentive program. The program gives rewards for healthier habits. Every year employees have the option of getting a health screening and follow-up health coaching calls, with advice on eating, exercise, and healthy patterns. Through this program we have seen dramatic changes with wellness and lifestyle changes. Let me share just one example:
Thursday I was driving back from training and called the office to check in on a project with an employee. When he picked up the phone, I quickly asked how the project was going?
"Oh, it's fine but guess what? I got my health screen back today and my cholesterol has dropped 40 points! It was very high before”
I congratulated her and she informed me she hadn’t known it was high before the screening. I then asked what she did to make the change.
“I ate healthy fats like avocado and nuts like my health coach advised"
Just one story of changing for the better. We are so glad to support our employees on their journey to better health!
The following story is a transcript of a talk by one of our employees, Sonny. Sonny gave this testimonial at our annual St. Francis Dinner on March 30th 2017.
My name is Sonny Pippin I go to the Cathedral of St. Helena and St. Marys. I have been working at Good Samaritan for 2 years, I started in April 2015. I work part time in clothing department, hang clothing in the back and keep the clothing stocked on the shelves.
Also I sometimes I will run the bailer or whatever else needs to get done.
The thing I like best about this place is it makes me feel like I am making a difference in the community and it makes me feel like I am worth something.
Working here makes me feel like I am being a help to the homeless and the other people Good Samaritan helps. I like giving back in this way because I was once homeless and I kinda relate in that way.
I like the people and the atmosphere. They make me feel like I am part of a family and team.
Thank you Good Samaritan for taking a chance and believing in my when nobody else did. Thank you for listening to my story.
For more information about the employment opportunity program, click here
For more information about our St. Francis Dinner, click here.
Marlene has been an employee with Good Samaritan for 10 years. She was hired originally as a Cashier and worked her way up to supervising 4 departments.
She has grown immensely in her positions here, her skills, and her commitment to our Mission has impacted her life more than she ever anticipated.
One day Marlene and I were just having lunch in the break room and casually talking about how it’s been working for Good Samaritan. She expressed that since she has been here she has more compassion, and understanding of just everyday life. “Being here you see so much. Working for another agency in town, it was nothing like it is here. People come in daily for all different needs, needing coats for their kids, and we give them a coat, the customer turns to you and gives you a hug while tears are running down their face. Just because you gave their kid a coat!"
Things we take for granted.
“You wouldn’t think something so small would mean so much to someone. I also remember this one time around Christmas we received a call that a father had gone missing and his 2 small boys needed help. GSM went out and bought them brand new things, big black garbage bags full of clothes, coats, toys, shoes really whatever they needed and more.
GSM really stepped up and made sure these boys had an AMAZING Christmas. We took that extra step for someone!”
"There are so many more stories like this, all the time, that make me realize this place has made me a better person just by being here. Every day I get to go home from work and know that in some way I’m helping someone today. By providing needs such as clothing, bedding, shoes and whatever else they might need. There is nothing more fulfilling than that, that you have been able to bring light and joy to someone. It truly humbles you. You can’t work here and not be affected by the people that come in and what we do for them! I appreciate Theresa, for putting up with me for so long now. There are always ups and downs no matter where you work, and boy oh boy there have been some……..but I wouldn’t trade any of it, it has impacted my life."
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!
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 .
All Carroll College Class Catholic Social Teaching Christmas Blessings Emergency Response Fashion Show 2017 Food Pantry Free Tax Help Good Sam Employee Helena Community Hunthausen Fund Mission Moment Personal Story Placer Pantry St. Francis Dinner 2017 Testimony Thanksgiving Volunteerism