Homeless. Holidays. Health.

Rotary Club teams with The Salvation Army to provide sanitation tools for Missoula homeless families

As the homeless population rises in Missoula, in part due to the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more families are asking for help from The Salvation Army.

“We’re seeing a big increase this year of people needing help,” says Ryan Boyd, corps officer with The Salvation Army. “Keeping safe from COVID-19 becomes even more critical for those without a home.”

Wanting to help, members of the Rotary Club of Missoula stuffed “Neighbor Bags” on Friday, December 11, at The Salvation Army headquarters in Missoula. The bags were later distributed to homeless families. Each bag includes hand sanitation tools, socks and other items necessary to maintain cleanliness and warmth on cold Missoula mornings.

“When you only have one pair of socks, it’s hard to stay healthy,” says Boyd.

The supplies are being donated through a generous $1,500 grant from The Rotary Foundation, a result of donations made by our club members and Rotarians around the world. The Rotary Foundation has been instrumental in the near eradication of polio worldwide and is using its network to support efforts to diminish cases of COVID-19.

“We’re pleased to partner with The Salvation Army in Missoula to help our neighbors in need,” says Victoria Emmons, president of the Rotary Club of Missoula. “It’s our way of giving back to a community we love.”

Our project with The Salvation Army was featured on KPAX-TV Channel 8 news on Saturday, December 12 at the 5:30 pm and 10 pm news casts with weekend anchor Katie Miller. If you missed it, check KPAX online. 

Pictured with 200 assembled Neighbor Bags -- results of a good afternoon's work -- are Jim Hutcheson, Ryan Boyd, Victoria Emmons and Kathy Schulte.
Ryan Boyd's spouse, Josh Boyd, joined the team putting together bags for the homeless. Both Ryan and Josh are officers at The Salvation Army and manage the Missoula location.
Kathy Schulte adds a prominent Rotary label to each bag to designate that the items are made possible through a donation from The Rotary Foundation.
Jim Hutcheson places three pairs of new socks into each bag. Owning more than one pair of socks helps promote cleanliness.
Ryan Boyd adds a warm hat to each bag. With Missoula's cold weather, it's important to keep heads covered.