Often in the lives of those living paycheck to paycheck, money is tight, so paying for living expenses is a balancing act.
One catastrophe or change in luck can tip the balance.
Take 'Jim', a senior citizen who cleans hotels part time to cover the living expenses his Social Security check cannot. Jim's luck turned for the worse when he broke his leg. His accident meant missing weeks of work, which meant missing crucial paychecks necessary to pay rent, prescriptions and other needs.
Instead of having to choose between homelessness and getting his medication, Jim found Good Samaritan Ministries.
Good Samaritan was able to pay Jim's Eviction Notice meaning he could stay in his home and still afford his vital prescriptions while he got better from his accident.
How quickly tragedy can strike, but that is why Good Samaritan Ministries exists. Stories like Jim's are not unusual, we see them happen everyday and we are thankful for the support of the community so we can help Jim and all in need like him.
Thank you Helena!
"I use to think at work that I couldn’t wait to go home…then I remembered that I was living in a shelter. Now, when I think I can’t wait to get home I remember we have our own place. I can relax at my table, drink coffee, I can follow my own schedule, and best of all, I finally have a home."
(Testimony of family who had been homeless for over 2 years. GSM helped them obtain a home this month.)
Not long ago I was wandering the store and felt a tap on the shoulder. I recognized the woman from my past right away. She was grinning from ear to ear and bubbling over to share her news: “I’m on my own now, I finally got fed up with the 'situation I was in.' I have a job now and doing well, I feel good”.
Relief flooded over me hearing her words. I knew this woman's particular "situation" all too well. Countless talks with her had convinced me that getting out was the best and most healthy thing for her and her kids. We had intervened in the past when their safety was threatened, but she was stuck in a dangerous pattern.
She went on to say: “I have friends that are in the same position I was and I want to help them out. Good Samaritan was a great place for me to evaluate my life and to find out my “situation” really was not hidden! There are a lot of women are in the same situation. I am on my own and doing ok! I love Good Sam’s and will always come back. "
Stories like this remind me what incredible strength of spirit the people we meet everyday can have. Starting over on your own is not an east feat, and requires community support. That is why Good Samaritan is here. We are privileged to get to know the people in the community, help them out and sometimes share their stories. Thank you for reading and have a blessed day!
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."
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 .