Samaritan Inn.Newton, NJ
When speaking with my friend the other day about a recent trip to New York City for Project Humanize, she looked at me and said: "I am wondering why you didn't start closer to home. Like in Sussex County?" And for one of the first times in my life, I was speechless. While somewhere in the back of my mind I know that the homeless population is not relegated to larger cities, for some reason it just never occurred to me to focus on more rural areas. However, with newfound loyalty and insight, we made a plan to set the location of our next adventure to Newton, New Jersey.
Armed with a backpack of blessing bags, camera, and 2 dozens of donuts (thank you Sparta Dunkin'!), we were ready to brave the heat and gather the stories of individuals who live mere miles from us. Unfortunately for us, it didn't appear that they received the "Project Humanize is coming" memo, as we did not come across anyone on the streets or the other locations we were told they live. Be that as it may, both Alexa and I both agreed that we still needed to be productive, therefore we made the choice to head to some homeless organizations within the community. It was our thought that by doing this we would not only be able to get a better understanding of what to expect from owning a non-profit, but we would also be able to introduce ourselves and our purpose to likeminded individuals.
We were right.
As soon as you walk up to the doors of the Samaritan Inn your eyes focus on this beautiful marble bench, in honor of the founder, with the quote "Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." I think at that point, we knew we had come upon a place that would provide the inspiration and connections we were looking for. And again, not to toot our own horns, we were right!
We met with Stephanie, a part time employee of Samaritan, who was more than willing to walk us through how Samaritan Inn has been servicing the homeless of Sussex County since 1977. While I could wax poetic about their awesomeness (because it is THAT inspiring), I figured I would simply list out their goals, mission, and accomplishments below for easy reading.
Samaritan Inn provides other services through its varied programs. These include:
- 24 hour hotline - allows contact for emergency assistance of food and shelter through volunteers who answer the phones in their own homes
- Prevention of Homelessness - directs its attention to families in danger of losing their home or having their utilities shut off
- Food Pantry - open Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 2pm to 4pm to meet the nutritional needs of impoverished residents of Sussex County
- Temporary Housing - is a service to homeless families, particularly single parents with children, and provides case management, shelter, counseling, and skill building toward independent living
- Family shelter apartments
- Emergency shelter for singles
- Community case management
- Holiday dinner and gift program
- Cooking with Coupons - a program to help families learn how to budget their money to be able to have sufficient healthy food for the month. The program also teaches families how to cook inexpensively and to prepare their own meals with unprocessed foods rather than buying fast food.
In short: Those who work for an volunteer with Samaritan Inn are angels and we are so thankful to have met with and (hopefully) work with them in the future.
Interested in volunteering? You can call them at 973-940-8872.
Interested in learning more? Visit www.samaritaninn.org