Good Samaritan Ministries is helping people avoid crisis during COVID


Posted at 12:50 PM, Aug 13, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues various support systems have been implemented to help people make it through this crisis. Even with the numerous grants and other programs, no system is perfect and some in need have been left without support.

Good Samaritan Ministries in Helena has been there to catch people who fell through the cracks in the system and help them avoid crisis, including those they employ.

Marvin Colman manages Our Place, a drop-in center overseen by Good Samaritan that provides a place for people dealing with mental health challenges, homelessness or other struggles find support.

The pandemic caused Colman and his family to need the same type of support.

“When the shutdown first happened, there was just so much need in the community we couldn’t close. So we laid off our employees, I stayed working 25 to 30 hours a week,” said Colman.

Colman spent the beginning of the pandemic mainly delivering food and groceries to people who couldn’t pick it up themselves.

By working that much, although reduced, Colman didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits. He’s also a student right now, which means he didn’t qualify for the federal stimulus money.

“Then the avalanche started where I just couldn’t pay everything each month, and eventually got to the point where I was so far behind I had to make the decision of do I keep the power on or do I pay the rent,” explained Colman.

Colman helps hundreds of people each week with finding housing, job services, peer support rides and food delivery. Yet he himself still struggled with admitting he needed help.

“It’s unfortunately part of our culture and so that’s where I found myself, even though I am a hard worker,” Colman said. “It was a little humbling at first, but then I thought ‘this happened, it was beyond your control, go ask!’ which was the hardest thing to do.”

Good Samaritan’s assistance ministries were able to help Colman with his rent, and began getting out of the ever deepening hole he had found himself in.

“Once I got my rent paid I could focus on all of the other bills coming in,” Colman said. “It gave me a month to get back on my feet. Then we opened, my hours went back to normal and I’m slowly digging out.”

Colman’s story is similar to the hundreds of families Good Samaritan helps every week. Most found themselves in mounting debt due to unforeseen circumstances.

Executive Director Theresa Ortega says the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for the organization, but one they’re adapting to.

“Even though our Thrift Store had closed, our Assistance Ministry never stopped,” said Ortega. “We provided services online to get people connected with different agencies to arrange for a place to stay or what their needs were.”

Good Samaritan can assist people with childcare, vehicle repair, dental, household items, toiletries and more.

The nonprofit was able to meet those needs during the pandemic thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program from SBA, and a $10,000 COVID Relief grant from the State of Montana.

The parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man giving aid to someone in need, and expecting nothing in return.

Ortega says they will continue to live up to their namesake and help all in need they can, even long after the pandemic has passed.

“We like to follow our services to serve the most in need throughout our community, the whole aspect of that. Those usually are the people that are ill, or downtrodden or homeless and we’ll keep going no matter what,” said Ortega.

The Good Samaritan Thrift Store is back up to their regular hours,and accepting donation on Tuesdays, Tuesdays and Saturdays.

More information about the services Good Samaritan Ministries provides, and how to support their mission can be found here.

Emergency housing assistance is also avalible through the State COVID Relief Fund. More information and how to apply can be found here.

Are You A Landlord, Property Manager, or Housing Agency?

Please look no further for a way to save money, time, and the hassle of finding the right tenant for you through the Housing Navigation program at Good Samaritan Ministries. Where we value the relationships between landlords and tenants to ensure housing success. Check out these services and more at or call Good Samaritan Ministries at 406-442-0780 and ask for Housing Navigator Chandler Rowling.

Lewis and Clark Human Services Task Force Grant

Headwaters Foundation for Justice
Thank you to the Headwaters Foundation for awarding Good Samaritan Ministries $5,000.00 for treatment needs of families. With their help we assisted over 30 families in accessing much needed substance abuse treatment and anger management. In many cases accessing these services was a pivotal part of reunification with children.

Foundation for the Diocese of Helena

Foundation for the Diocese of Helena
Good Samaritan staff and volunteers would like to sincerely thank the Foundation for the Diocese of Helena for its generous award of $1800.
With the Foundation’s help Good Samaritan was able to acquire a new printer with a tabber for optimizing our mailings and newsletters. We worked with a local office technology store to get the best price possible. Our new printer will greatly reduce staff time and speed up preparation of mailings, newsletter and other literature.

The tabber isn’t the only benefit of the new printer. The print quality is higher, it prints faster and can stack directly into mailing flats. It has many advanced features we are excited to start using.

This amazing new tool has enabled us to share our mission and spread the word about the amazing work Good Sam does in our community.
Thank you to the Foundation for the Diocese of Helena.

To learn more about the Foundation, its grant program, and endowments, please call the parish office or Jeanne Saarinen at the Foundation – 1-800-584-8914 ext. 36 or [email protected]

Helena Area Community Foundation Grant

Helena Area Community Foundation
​Thank you to the Helena Area Community Foundation for awarding Good Samaritan Ministries and the Housing First Coordinated Entry System $2,000.00 for transportation needs of the homeless!!

The grant will provide bus tokens and taxi rides for people experiencing homelessness to access vital services.

We plan to use this funding to demonstrate the value of transportation for those most in need. We believe transportation is vital in helping the most vulnerable reach services and engage in their community.

We will work collaboratively with a host of community partners to leverage existing programs and relationships. We will use the funding as effectively as possible and identify other funding sources in the future.

Good Samaritan temporarily takes over Our Place drop-in center

Good Samaritan Ministries of Helena will temporarily take over Our Place drop-in center following the exit of Western Montana Mental Health from Lewis and Clark County.

The commissioners on Thursday approved the temporary contract, which is effective until Feb. 29, in the amount of $12,291 per month. Per the contract, Good Samaritan is providing the services of two peer support specialists and an additional employee who is splitting time between Good Samaritan and Our Place.

“It falls under our mission statement to serve those most in need in our community,” said Good Samaritan Executive Director Theresa Ortega.

Our Place largely serves those with mental health or sobriety issues who are seeking treatment. Many of the people served are homeless.


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3067 N. Montana Avenue
Helena, MT 59601

office hours

Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

thrift store hours

Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Loading Dock: OPEN for donations Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and closes one hour before store closing.

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