Samaritan staff members share their experiences of helping shelter guests in need. From providing a warm meal to offering a listening ear, our staff members have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of those staying at the shelter.
One staff member, Kenneth Koontz, Supportive Services Counselor for Project Cornerstone, says he has worked with hundreds of guests whose circumstances and outcomes have varied throughout the years and describes his excitement when guests return with updates.
“It is the best feeling to see former guests come find me to let me know they still have their keys to their places and maintaining a self-sufficient lifestyle,” said Kenneth.
Sandra (Shorty) Staples, Soup Kitchen Assistant Manager, recalls a memorable moment when she had to confront a guest who caused a disturbance during lunch. Shorty remembers walking into the dining room where a lunch guest was angry and yelling at people. “He called me everything under the sun as I offered a listening ear and words of encouragement as he expressed his feelings. I felt called to let him know I see you and I hear you,” said Shorty.
A few days later, the guest returned to Samaritan requesting to speak with Shorty to apologize for his behavior. He said “Ms. Shorty, I am sorry for treating you that way. I was hungry and frustrated because I had a lot going on and you showed me nothing but kindness in that moment.” I promise I will do better. Since their interactions, the former guest visits Samaritan to show he is in good spirits and is living better.
These stories serve as a reminder of the impact that a little bit of kindness can have on those in need.