GRANITE CITY — The Metro East’s largest homeless shelter that focuses on women with children is ready to raise some funds — and it’s hosting a great party to do that.
Good Samaritan House of Granite City is holding its annual Fall Dinner Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Granite City Township Hall, 2060 Delmar Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
Attendees can enjoy the sounds of the Granite City Swing Band while bidding on items in the silent auction, and Jerry’s Cafeteria will provide the dinner, including their famous chicken, mostaccioli and twice-baked potatoes.
Items up for bid in the auction include all sorts of Cardinals giveaway items, gift certificates for an in-home wine tasting party and more.
Executive Director Janice Donaldson encourages attendees to come with their hearts open and their bellies empty.
“It will definitely be a fun night, especially with the Granite City Swing Band playing,” she said.
“Every year people dance, and it grows,” she said, reflecting on previous fall dinners.
But Donaldson says attendance at this year’s dinner will be “even more important” to Good Samaritan House than ever before, explaining that the center, along with many other Illinois social service agencies, has been feeling the effects of the ongoing state budget crisis.
For those who have attended previous dinners, Donaldson says there will be a few new parts of the program, though the food, auction and music are proven favorites from previous events. This year, in addition to honoring sponsors GCS Credit Union, Nameoki United Methodist Church and Purina, the center has also created a video to show and invited a former resident to share her personal story.
“A lot of people, when they think of a shelter, they think of beds and food,” Donaldson explained. “But we are so much more than ‘three hots and a cot.’ We are more than a shelter; we are an empowerment center. We help them pull themselves back up and become self-sufficient.”
It’s Donaldson’s hope that hearing this former resident’s story will encourage people to get involved in ensuring the center stays open and operational for a long time.
“Homelessness hits everyone in different economic conditions,” she said. “Anyone can have a car accident or lose a job or have their situation change. When we share these stories, people realize that.”
In addition to food and shelter for women and children experiencing homelessness, Good Samaritan House offers instruction in life skills, including resumé help, interview clothing and practice, budgeting, women’s health, education, nutrition and more. They also provide the stability necessary for homeless children to be present, stay caught up and succeed in school. Furthermore, when the families are ready to leave the shelter, the center assists them through their transitional housing program.
“A case manager visits them, and whatever guidance and support they need, we can give it to them,” Donaldson said.
“I love what this organization does,” Donaldson said, adding, “What does your donation do? It does a lot. We want people to know, and to have an opportunity to share in the joy and partnership of what we’re doing.”
So on Nov. 7, people should bring their swing dancing shoes and a craving for mostaccioli and fried chicken, and they should “be prepared to hear some great news about an organization that’s making a great difference in the community and helping women and children,” Donaldson said.
“We haven’t raised our ticket prices in years because we want people to come,” Donaldson said.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 by calling (618) 876-0607 or visiting www.goodsamaritanhouse.org, where you can also learn more about Good Samaritan House’s impact on the community. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the evening of the dinner.
Follow @NewsAdVantage on Twitter