A Ray of Hope provides a safe harbor for those in the community with nowhere else to turn. Those who seek help are provided with food, clothing, shelter and most importantly, job training which provides an avenue to develop competency in meeting life’s financial, emotional, family, legal and rehabilitation challenges.
What Does A Ray of Hope Do?
A Ray of Hope started in 1999 in a second hand store on Hwy 2 east in Kalispell, MT and in no time people began showing up off the streets asking for help and a safe place to sleep. Mattresses were put on the floor, warm food cooked and clothes provided.
Our ministry has grown into one shelter and a Thrift store. Our goal is to share God’s love in giving a hand up not a hand out. We work to help our neighbors to break the cycle of Homelessness in the following ways: We provide shelter; We help keep families with children in their homes, Provide education in computer and retail skills. In our hand up not a hand out motto; they give back hours a day and receive on the job training while self documenting hours worked to acquire job skills and good work ethics.
We provide bus tickets to get those who have lost their home safely home to family members who can get them back on their feet. We take in pregnant women off the streets until they can be provided a safe home. We have a Mountain Retreat offered at no cost to those coming off drugs and alcohol to spend time in an intense 12 step program.
A Thrift store to provide needed clothing and house hold items for people who have lost everything sometimes due to their own poor choice or to fire and other issues they had not control over such as a husband and father waking up one morning and putting his family on the streets while he leaves with anything of value. Taking mental health people and giving them a place to live as they stabilize.
Practical Resources We provide
We are the last resource for many that have burned all other bridges for help. Listed are just some of the ways we have given a hand up in our community:
We house up to 30 people in 2 shelters a day.
Bus tickets are given to people to help them get back to family that can give them a hand up.
We clothe people from our Hope-Thrift store. This has helped many of them to show up for a job interview looking good.
We train people to develop better job skills on a computer, and teach them retail sales.
We advertise for the community to hire our guests for day labor. With the help of good budget counseling, we get them on their feet with enough funds so when they leave A Ray of Hope they have earned and saved money or first-last month’s rent, de-posit, and needed household items
Families with children come to us because they are going to lose a place to live. If they are willing to work on a budget and live by it, we will help them stay in their homes if we have the funds. We keep an average of five families in a safe place with their children.
Help people to get their ID'S so they can get a job.
We help people get their drivers license as many companies will not hire a person if they do not have a valid driver’s license.
We have a Mountain Retreat at no cost for those who are struggling with drug and alcohol problems. Helmville Retreat Center
We have taken in felons that no one will give a chance to start a new life on the outside. Many of these individuals are now giving back to society instead of being a draw on the tax base.
We take people in under house arrest so they can keep a job and also give to the tax base.
Veterans get help for needed medical and mental health issues. Some of these wonderful servants of our country have been with us up to three years.
We work to refer them to programs that can help them with a hand up.
Sometimes people come in full of body lice. We help get them the meds needed to destroy the lice. Clean clothes and a clean bed restore their self-esteem.
We have taken in many people discharged from the hospital that had no place to go to heal.
Who is A Ray of Hope?
A Ray of Hope is made up of your friends and neighbors, and we hope you will join us too. Every penny goes where it's needed, not in somebody's pocket or a corporate overhead. All benefits go to the Montana community.
Our Trustees and Founders
Bob and Peggy Christensen founded and oversee A Ray of Hope since 1998. They learned about helping others early in life. Bob Grew up on a ranch in Montana, where helping each other was a means to survival. Peggy grew up in a family where helping the poor was a normal event.
On July 4, 1970 Bob and Peggy committed their lives to Jesus Christ. They also accepted the mandate from 1 Peter 4:9,10, which says, "be hospitable to one another without grumbling. Each one who has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of "the Manifold grace of God." This verse from God's word set the path that they were to walk out in gratitude for the grace the Lord gave to them.
What about other groups that do the same thing?
The need is far greater than the resources, just look around you. The need is readily apparent. To even make a dent in the needs around us it will take a cooperative effort, composed of government and private agencies, law enforcement and churches.
Society has shifted the burden of these needs back to local communities and churches. A Ray of Hope exists totally to serve these needs. As more and more people come our way our need of funds, friends, and other resources grows.
A Ray of Hope operates simply and without fanfare and it needs your help to continue providing these vital services to our community.
Please call (406) 755-4673 or check us out at 46th 5th Ave W.