Neighbors helping neighbors is an idea lost on many in a world that seems so divided and filled with anger. Often people become self-absorbed with their own opinions and beliefs, and for anyone to challenge those belie fs is nearly unthinkable. Though it seems that the loudest on each end of an argument garner the most attention, all across the country there are those who continually put aside their personal beliefs to help those in need, including right here in Boundary County.
“Simply here to help; no strings attached,” is the motto of the Hope House, and it’s been that way since it first opened its doors in 2011 at the corner of Roosevelt and Division in Moyie Springs. The Hope House, which is run by the Bonners Ferry Church of the Nazarene, steers away from perpetuating a heavy religious overtone—though it is a religious organization. People from all walks of life, denominations and faiths are welcome at the Hope House with no strings attached.
Over the past six years, the Hope House has helped hundreds of families in need. An incredible number of donations from the surrounding community are offered on a weekly basis, further proof of the community’s belief in the Hope House’s mission. Families and individuals in need of a few items will find them here. There is gently used clothing for all seasons for men, women, children and infants. Toiletry items like deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes are always available, and mothers in need of infant items such as diapers, wipes, formula and other necessities will find help at the Hope House. There is never a charge for these items, as the Hope House operates off the generosity of donations by the local community.
Director Aimee Christopherson says that people in various life circumstances make their way to their door. “We support a lot of families and seniors who are trying hard to make ends meet but just need a little extra help from time to time,” says Christopherson. “When you walk through Hope House’s doors, it is easy to see just how generous our Bonners Ferry community is.”
This past March, the Hope House hosted a sorting party due to the incredible amount of clothing they received during the late winter months. The community, again, stepped up to help go through and organize the items so they could more easily distribute the right clothing to those in need.
With school out during the summer months, it can be difficult for local families to provide enough food for their children. The Hope House recognizes this need and is offering a free lunch each Tuesday as well as fun arts and crafts opportunities to help busy the kids. The last Sunday of each month, they hold a block party for the entire community, with free food and drinks, as well as a bounce castle for the kids. Often times during these events, there are special appearances by local fire and ambulance personnel.
Despite the immense generosity, there are several items that the Hope House is in constant need of, such as gently used pots and pans. Although the days are getting warmer, many of the area homes have wood stoves as their heat source, so a firewood donation or an offer to help chop wood for families is always appreciated. Men’s and boys’ jeans without too much wear are also in high demand. Anytime you can provide non-perishable food, numerous programs serviced by the Hope House ensure that these food items make it to the tables of community members in need.
The Hope House will continue its mission of helping people in their time of need. It is not designed as a full-scale support system but rather a place where community members can go for essentials to help get them through a rough patch, and as always, nothing is asked in return. If you would like to help out or donate, you can bring your items directly to the Hope House on the northwest corner of Roosevelt and Division in Duplex A. You can also follow them on Facebook to learn of upcoming events, donations from the community and what particular items the center is in need of at any given time.
Helping your neighbors in a time of need might not grab headlines of major papers or be the top story on the evening news, but those who lend a helping hand know they’ve made a difference in someone’s life, and nothing is more fulfilling than acknowledging this, even without the recognition.