I have been moved to support this organization in many ways. Its "Next Step" program is innovative, relies on the initiative of participants in the program and respects the participants' dignity. This organization does so much more than provide food and clothes. It provides links for volunteers to experience the devastating effects of homelessness on people. It allows volunteers to provide lasting help and hear first-hand the impact homelessness can have on real people. It is an effective program that continues to link homeless people needing many things with caring, respectful, dedicated volunteers and staff. Samaritan Ministry's Next Step program is a refreshing approach to helping others.
I learned about Samaritan Ministry some years ago, through my church, which is one of the Samaritan Ministry partner parishes. I have gotten to know staff members, volunteers and participants in Samaritan Ministry's program through parish council meetings, participation on Samaritan Ministry's board, attendance at Next Step training sessions and hearing from participants directly about what Samaritan Ministry has done for them. I know first hand the quality of Samaritan Ministry's leadership and governance. I have heard directly from participants about the difference Samaritan Ministry has made in their lives. The Next Step model meets people where they are, helps them identify their own "next steps," and then helps them take those next steps. The program combines lots of support with the requirement that participants take responsibility for their own growth. It works, one life at a time. I make Samaritan Ministry a priority in our charitable contributions because the organization is truly making a difference in lives.