Every year Good Samaritan provides a site for Free Tax Help Clinic through Rural Dynamics. This clinic takes place every tax season, stay tuned for more information about tax season 2018!
The thrift store was a successful location for many, including one such individual “Jennifer”. Late January Jennifer came to the office asking if she would qualify for free tax help. It was apparent she was very nervous and upset about her taxes. As we assessed her income and found she was eligible for free tax help she began to share her personal story. Jennifer was a single mom who had endured many struggles, including a poor work history- She now has a steady job but is living on a low income. The one struggle that weighed heaviest on her understandably was being behind not one year, but three on her taxes.
We let her know the days and times Free Tax Help office were open at Good Sam Thrift Store and invited her back. Almost the whole tax season had passed, and We didn’t see Jennifer- which is not unusual. But just the other day Jennifer came into the office eager to share some news. With great excitement she exclaimed that her past three years of taxes are complete! She related how nervous she was to sit with someone to talk about her taxes and face being so far behind. With tears in her eyes she talked of how kind “the man” was and how he took special care to not make her feel ashamed. “He told me it was fear that I could not get them done- I had become so afraid I just kept putting it off and didn’t know where to go, he made me feel better about myself, and let me know we would work on them together”. She laughed and said….Do you know I again waited until the very last minute I was so afraid!
Thank you Rural Dynamics for working with so many in need of tax help. Sometimes we make change one person at a time, you have helped Jennifer in more way then you will ever imagine.
We are so thankful for a community that is so responsive and helpful in local emergencies. This fire season is a bad one, but we can always count on those around us to step up and help!
Last week when the rain and snowy weather started, an organization called National Incident Management came to Good Samaritan Ministries with a request.
This organization coordinates the national mobilization of resources for those fighting wild land fires. There was a group of Job Corps Volunteers working on containing the Alice Creek wildfire fifteen miles northeast of Lincoln. This group was severely lacking in proper gear that suited the cold weather.
Good Samartian Assistance Ministry had all new coats, hats, socks, and sweatshirts on hand thanks to a donation from the Zumiez Foundation. We gave National Incident Management 50 of each coats, hats ,socks and sweatshirts for the brave fire fighters to help with their situation.
It takes a community effort like this to help in emergencies. That is Good Samaritan's Mission to be there to help. Thank you for your support of us and our Community. God Bless the fire fighters and all those helping on the home front!
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!
As I started my car last Thursday I had no idea that I was headed for the blessing of a 'Mission Moment'. I really should have had some inkling because I was headed for "Business After Hours" at the Good Samaritan Ministries. After a tour of the store two of us were inadvertently standing in front of the cash register as we shared times in our lives when we had witnessed someone being especially kind to someone else and the warm, inspiring feeling it created.
As we talked, a woman came along pushing a shopping cart. She stopped and said, “I LOVE Good Samaritan!! I raised my four children on my own. And I was on disability. Good Samaritan was with me every step of the way. I couldn’t have done it without them! I just love Good Samaritan! And now, look at these shoes. They’re brand new! Thank you!” Off she went leaving us smiling with misty eyes. Good Samaritan is a gift to her and she was a gift to us. So much good happens at Good Samaritan!
It was a special moment, fun to share! Thanks for all of the good you do,
(Sandi Ashley is a member of our all volunteer board. Thank you Sandi for sharing your story! We are so thankful for all our board members do!)
"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.)
(The donation box at the registers reads)
It goes on to explain that every donation of change or rounding up of a purchase goes directly into our assistance fund that helps those in crisis*
A mother came up to the cash register to purchase some clothing for her young daughter who was with her. The parent, taking the clothing one by one, double checked the prices and watched the total being extra careful, it seemed, not to go over the amount she had. It was clear they were on a budget.
The total was under $20, which seemed to relieve the mom. As I chatted with the mom and bagged the clothing, the young girl’s attention was on our sign by the donation box.
“You can be a Hero”
Turning to her mother she exclaimed, “Mom, I want to be a Hero!”
The mother smiled and handed her the change from the purchase. The mother explained to me that Good Samaritan makes shopping possible for her and her daughter and she made sure she donated every time she was here as much or as little as she had. Our charity once helped her in her time of need and she was so grateful. She wanted to help another family as she was helped by Good Samaritan.
The daughter dropped all the change in the donation box and with a proud voice proclaimed:
"I'm a Hero today!”
She looked at the customer next in line and asked: “You can be a Hero too?”
The customer read the sign and he donated, stating he was unaware of all the help we provide the people of Helena.
That young girl had started a chain reaction, as customer after customer in line kept donating!
The next day the same young lady bounded through the door, in her fist a five dollar bill. She made a beeline straight for the same donation box and dropped her five dollar bill in the box.
She beamed “I'm a Hero again today!”
The customer checking out who witnessed this act smiled as the girl said to her: “You can be a Hero too!”
And again she started a chain of continuous donations!
It was so awesome to see that girl again - the pure joy she received from giving all she had was contagious
Generosity is infectious, one good deed begets another, and seeing that in action is truly one of the biggest blessings of being in this line of work.
A special thank you to that young hero, and to all those unseen heroes of Good Samaritan Ministries!
"Thank you so much! You are a lifesaver and as soon as I am back on my feet, I will donate- I want to repay you guys for helping me during this emergency"
I hear these words a lot during assistance appointments. Those in need of help know they will not be in crisis forever and are usually already thinking of what they will do for others once they are able.
I always reassure them they are not required to pay us back-the ministry is a gift, not a loan. But if the opportunity arises for them to pay it forward they certainly should. And most, if not all, do! In fact, many charities are started by individuals who were once down on their luck and were shown charity which inspired them to pay it forward.
The act of paying it forward isn't necessarily paying back those who showed you kindness, but consequently showing the same kindness to those whom are put in your path. You then hopefully inspire those people to in turn show kindness to others. That is what is so great about the sentiment- it creates a chain of good doing.
Good Samaritan receives love and support from you and that is why we pay it forward to the Helena Community. Thank you for causing a chain reaction!
Family Promise referred a young family consisting of a mother, a father and a newborn baby to us. They initially came in to apply housing help through our Emergency Solutions Grant, but as we got to talking I soon realized that this family was in need of much more. Since the Christmas holiday was coming up, I asked if they have made arrangements. They understandably didn’t have one, since their main worry was getting a roof over their head. Good Samaritan has a Adopt a Family program for Christmas where we act as the mediator for businesses and individuals to sponsor our clients for Christmas. I knew this family would be a great candidate for the program. I assigned the family in need to a past board member’s family. One of the things I knew the family in need had to get was a rather costly repair on their vehicle. The vehicle is used regularly to commute to Bozeman for the father's medical appointment and the primary source of transportation for the baby and the family. They were worried the car would not make it much longer. The awesome people that adopted this family negotiated a special, drastically reduced rate with J-4 automotive and the Good Samaritan Assistance Program helped the family pay for the repair. They got the ESG grant funding and got into long term housing and then Good Samaritan helped them get furniture for their home. Because of the generosity of this sponsor family, J4 Automotive, and your support of Good Samaritan, everything fell into place for this family in need- They came to us with a small hope of getting a roof over their head and left with stable housing, food and Christmas gifts, a fixed car, and furniture. Truly a Christmas Miracle!
This is a story from Good Samaritan’s Assistance Coordinator and took place this past December, Christmas 2016.
"Hi, you have given me help paying for my glasses and it has helped me so much, I can now read and fill out forms and drive better. I know God has helped me through you. Thank you so much. One day I will come and help out here and give back. "I thank God for people like you. Have a great life and I pray for you and thank God for your help." - A grateful client
It may not seem like much, but to one person a simple thing such as a pair of glasses can greatly improve one's quality of life! Thank you for making this possible through supporting our Ministry.
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!
GSM Mission Moments
Success stories from our Mission. You can be a hero by supporting Good Samaritan and those in need in Helena .