"Sharon treated me with so much respect. She said 'We're gonna get you all the help you need.'...I am evidence that love doesn’t fail."
“We are all members, we are all equal. There are no servers, nor people served. We are all there to support each other.”
"We share our weaknesses, our happiness, what makes us glad... I really feel privileged."
"Most who come to us are lovely people who are trying really hard just to keep their families from drowning... it really makes my job worth doing."
“The people here, they don’t pull any punches. It is what it is."
“When people leave isolation and enter our positive and supportive community, a new world of possibilities opens to them."
“People give as much as they get here.”
"I am in constant need of examining what I am doing, what I am here in this life for, and I get that all the time. Every Tuesday."
"This is what I need to feed my spirit."
"I immediately walk in and I get lots of hugs. At this point, I know the regular folks pretty well. It always feels so good to see them.”
“With the people we help, isolation is often the fuel for the addiction, the fuel for the depression. It is a part of spousal abuse. It’s a part of so many of the challenges that people have. The brilliance – the magic, is in creating community. Real community, where people help other people. Not just employees helping clients, but people helping people. Whether they’re a volunteer, client, member, employee. Ending the isolation is where the healing starts. That is what makes this small, shoe-string budget organization so powerfully effective. The sense of community… it is the community that heals. I see it every day.”
Samaritan Community is a family. We all sit down and share our weaknesses, our happiness, what makes us sad, what makes us glad, and I really feel privileged, because I have never seen a program in Baltimore City that is like Samaritan Community.
Most of the people who come to us are lovely people who are trying really hard just to keep their families from drowning in a world where they have health issues, and they have children with health issues. We have people raising little grandchildren without the parents in the picture… it really makes my job worth doing.
I have been coming here for 15 or 16 years now. I started as a person getting food for my family. I have two granddaughters, one eighteen and one four. I have a daughter, who is 43, and she is a disabled vet. So, you know, you do what you can to feed your family. I stumbled upon the Samaritan Community, I had a brother who had come here for some things. Some food, and some help. At that time there was a social worker here. She helped him out, and he passed the word: Oh, it’s wonderful… he was so impressed. I called, made an appointment, and I’ve been here ever since. I help any way I can. Cleaning, cooking, babysitting, working in the clothes ministry, and sometimes in the pantry. Wherever I am needed. I am committed.
I get so much from this group. Number one: they’re friends, and we all like to be with friends. Number two: what Sharon does with us. I have found in my life, that I am in constant need of examining what I am doing, what I am here in this life for, and I get that all the time. Every Tuesday.
I have been coming here for a long time. A great deal of my life was caught up in active addiction. Baltimore has a lot of organizations that give you help, but they’ve got so many guidelines. You need your Maryland state ID, birth certificate. When I came here, none of that was required. It was like an addict’s haven. I could tell them anything, and I used that to my advantage. Then there came a point where I just destroyed it. I had gotten so badly into addiction, that I was just beyond repair. I went into treatment, I went into a recovery house. I came back here, and I had to apologize about my past behavior. Sharon is the second person that I’ve ever met that is like a heavenly being on earth. She sees you for who you are. I know now, through experience, that she already knew what kind’ve games we were bringing her. But her purpose is to help you. So no matter what I said, or how I acted, she helped me. I carried on, and no matter how bad I got, she was there. I am in my fifth year now of being clean, and I just started coming back.I take what I do here back to the house where I live. This is what I need to feed my spirit. This is the only place that I can come and find a solution for my problem.
The camaraderie helps everyone. They feel like they are a part of something – it’s a place that you belong. People assist each other in their personal growth, and in dealing with their individual problems, but it is also a place to have fun and know that you belong, and that someone cares about you.The need is endless. People are hurting. People need companionship, people need hope, people need purpose, and those things never go away. After many years, there are still people coming to the door with the same needs.
I got my life here. I found my purpose here. I came here in a wheelchair initially. In 1999 I had an epidural abscess on my upper spine, and I was paralyzed from my waist to my toes. I was in a wheelchair from 1999 to 2006. That was when Stewart was here. Stewart promised me, he said: One day, we’re gonna have an elevator, and you’re gonna be the first to ride in the elevator. And I was.
I immediately walk in and I get lots of hugs. At this point, I know the regular folks pretty well. It always feels so good to see them. It’s a community. People support each other. People know each other. We look out for each other.