(We are republishing this article that first appeared in the June 2011 newsletter to celebrate our second anniversary on Fortune St. Samaritan House moved to the new house on June 14, 2011. Since then we have increased the number of people served by 72%. Our bed days increased 60%. We served 69 people using wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers who could not have managed the stairs at the old house.)
Samaritan House’s New Home Is Taking Shape!
by Mary Fluke, DVM, Samaritan House Board Member
We closed on the new house in early May thanks to generous grants from the Carolinas Healthcare Foundation and the Leon Levine Foundation. Now it is undergoing a facelift and will be clean and bright when the guests move in this June. The good news is that no major structural renovations were required. Volunteers are coming in to clean and paint and the whole place is looking fresh and new.
We’ve been so lucky to have the help of generous vendors like Morris Jenkins Heating and Air Conditioning, Harris Communications, and Halls Flooring. The water leaks are all repaired thanks to All About the Pipes Plumbing. We needed a wall built to create a conference room so one of the wonderful members of the Dilworth Rotary, Nick Bowman, got his tools and the needed materials and (with the help of our treasurer Gene Schlaman) had the wall built in no time flat!
A team from Carolinas Healthcare System will be volunteering at the house just before we open to pressure wash the building and the decks, clean the yard and paint the outbuildings. They want to make sure the outside is as nice as the inside.
I’ve only been able to help out on Wednesdays since that’s my day off of work. Last week I worked with Bob Teague and Lori Haase painting the offices. Bob and Lori are members at Newell Presbyterian Church which is not too far away from where I live. It makes me realize that although Charlotte is a big city, in some ways it’s still a small town, with people coming from many different neighborhoods to help out on this project. Lori and I are strict amateurs but Bob’s a pro! He made “cutting in” look easy and painted so neatly. Once the rooms were done, they looked just great.
I painted one of the bathrooms that day as well. Other volunteers had already been in there, taping off the woodwork and wall hardware and repairing the holes in the walls. Somebody does the prep, then somebody else paints, then yet another person does the second coat…all these people coming on different days, at different times, working separately and yet together to finish a dining room, a bedroom, a whole house. It’s good to be part of an effort like this.
Today I met a woman named Dana Woodward. I saw her briefly last week and I noticed that her name appears almost daily in the volunteer sign in book. She was cleaning up the leaves and sticks in the back yard parking area so I went out to chat a bit. Dana told me that she’s new in Charlotte and found out about Samaritan House through St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. When I asked her, “Why here? Why this organization?” she told me that she wanted to find something that would be a bit of a stretch for her, a challenge. She wants to work with the guests one on one, to learn how to give each person what’s needed in that moment, whether it’s a meal or a ride or a willing ear to listen. This isn’t something she’s done before so it takes some courage. She’s making a long term commitment to Samaritan House, not quite sure what she’s getting into, but willing to step out of her comfort zone and do her best.
A new volunteer, a new house, a new floor, a new wall, a new paint job…and a safe place for ill and injured people who are homeless. It really is a new beginning!
–Mary Fluke, DVM
Samaritan House Board Member