Homeless Helpers

God’s Love, a shelter for the homeless in Helena, Mont., provides meals, lodgings and clothes. It was established in 1984.  Food is served daily, from 4:15 to 6:30p.m. to a handful of people or up to a hundred. Spiritual food is optional on Fridays in the form of Bible classes.

God’s Love, a shelter for the homeless in Helena, Mont., provides meals, lodgings and clothes. It was established in 1984. Food is served daily to a handful of people or up to a hundred. Spiritual food is optional on Fridays in the form of Bible classes.

God’s Love Homeless Shelter

New York Mike looks at me suspiciously under his baseball cap and tries to avoid my camera. He doesn’t tell me to go away, though.

He uses big dictionary words and explains what they mean, when asked by the other homeless guys at the shelter.

He’s from New York, he says.

When he realizes I mean no harm, he warms up to me and offers to take me on a tour of the place. He’s one of the regulars, it seems.

He is at home.

And I’ve just made a new friend.

The first floor of the shelter can host up to 33 people. The second floor is reserved for families, and six are currently living there. Everyone is expected to stay six months, to work things out and stop the cycle of homelessness.

The first floor of the shelter can host up to 33 people. The second floor is reserved for families, and six are currently living there. Everyone is expected to stay six months, to work things out and stop the cycle of homelessness.

David “Bubba” Grubbit, left, and New York Mike have been staying at the shelter on and off since its establishment. They volunteer to help with whatever is needed: serving food, cleaning up, running errands. Because the refrigerator room doesn’t work, a dozen boxes of old, but sweet-smelling bagels and doughnuts were trashed. Stacks of molded pastries remained unheeded in the basement.

David “Bubba” Grubbit, left, and New York Mike have been staying at the shelter on and off since its establishment. They volunteer to help with whatever is needed: serving food, cleaning up, running errands. Because the refrigerator room doesn’t work, a dozen boxes of old, but sweet-smelling bagels and doughnuts were trashed. Stacks of molded pastries remained unheeded in the basement.

Bubba, left, plans to buy himself a trailer and move out of the shelter. “I enjoy the coming people and the socializing here,” he says. “I appreciate what they do for me [the shelter], so I volunteer to help.” He doesn’t skip a chance to play around with New York Mike.

Bubba, left, plans to buy himself a trailer and move out of the shelter. “I enjoy the coming people and the socializing here,” he says. “I appreciate what they do for me [the shelter], so I volunteer to help.” He doesn’t skip a chance to play around with New York Mike.

Bubba and New York Mike place the food trays on the counter and invite everyone to start. A “Railroad Crossing”sign decorates the wall, since, legend has it, it was supposed to serve poor people coming off the trains.

Bubba and New York Mike place the food trays on the counter and invite everyone to start. A “Railroad Crossing”sign decorates the wall, since, legend has it, it was supposed to serve poor people coming off the trains.

People start coming in for the dinner an hour earlier. Some hang around and read a book, others go outside for a smoke. Drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the premises.

People start coming in for the dinner an hour earlier. Some hang around and read a book, others go outside for a smoke. Drugs and alcohol are not allowed on the premises.

Danny Miller, son of the director of God's Love, Ann Miller, has been a cook at the shelter since 1994. The year before that he went to the University of Montana, but left after a semester, because he got in the wrong company. He's not always proud of his culinary concoctions. "Sometimes I have things to cook that I don't know what they are," he says. Other times, he just throws some beans and ham in the pot and stirs.

Danny Miller, son of the director of God’s Love, Ann Miller, has been a cook at the shelter since 1994. The year before that he went to the University of Montana, but left after a semester, because he got in the wrong company. He’s not always proud of his culinary concoctions. “Sometimes I have things to cook that I don’t know what they are,” he says. Other times, he just throws some beans and ham in the pot and stirs.

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Kelvin Williams has been in God’s Love for four days. He used to take drugs but now he’s trying to get back on his feet, find a job, find a place to live. Kelvin came back to Helena when his last job fell through, because he was born here. He wouldn’t stay with his brother, he says, because his nephew swears and doesn’t respect him. He doesn’t stay with his mother either, because she lives out of town and he doesn’t have a car.

Kelvin Williams has been in GodÕs Love for four days. He used to take drugs but now heÕs trying to get back on his feet, find a job, find a place to live. Kelvin came back to Helena when his last job fell through, because he was born here. He wouldnÕt stay with his brother, he says, because his nephew swears and doesnÕt respect him. He doesnÕt stay with his mother either, because she lives out of town and he doesnÕt have a car.

Kelvin Williams has been in God’s Love for four days. He used to take drugs but now he’s trying to get back on his feet, find a job, find a place to live. Kelvin came back to Helena when his last job fell through, because he was born here. He wouldn’t stay with his brother, he says, because his nephew swears and doesn’t respect him. He doesn’t stay with his mother either, because she lives out of town and he doesn’t have a car.