slideshow left arrow


The Family Shelter of the Bitterroot strives to to provide comprehensive support services to help circumstantially homeless families in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana achieve sustainable economic independence.
Our community programs are in part how we fulfill our mission.

Community Meals Program

The Community Meals Program offers free meals to any and all in need, from September through May. On October 2, 2013 we joined forces with local churches and community groups to offer a free community meal each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening at Cornerstone Bible Church in Hamilton. During the month of October 2013 we served 180 meals, which increased to 789 meals served one year later in October 2015. The meals are offered to anyone in the area that is in need. The average cost per night is $150 plus about $250/month for paper plates and utensils. The wages for our meal coordinator average $400 to $500/month.

Comments from clients that attended the meals:

If you or an organization would like to help provide meals, volunteer, or otherwise assist with the program, please contact Cheryl Calvert:
406-381-4405 or

See Full Schedule

Temporary Housing for Homeless Families

We are currently raising funds to build a shelter for Bitterroot homeless families. We have located a suitable one half acre site along Fairgounds Road in Hamilton and have designed a state of the art 9,600 square foot facility that will house up to 15 families, with a commercial kitchen and dining area to be utilized for the nightly Community Meals we are currently serving from Cornerstone Church.

In keeping with our mission to provide comprehensive supportive services to help the homeless families in our community achieve sustainable economic independence, the guest families will be allowed to stay up to 60 days without cost. While in residence, they will learn life skills in a structured, safe environment with assistance in obtaining their next-step housing. They will receive safe shelter, meals, a local phone number and mailing address. Child care, job search assistance, computer access, auto repair and other supportive services will be available. Our goal in working with the families is to help them to remain intact, while allowing them time to learn the tools they need to help rebuild their financial foundation.
We have applied for grants, however it was determined that Ravalli County per capita income was too high to qualify. In addition to donations for day to day operations, we will rely on "host" volunteers to staff the facility 24/7, helping with child care and/or teach classes in their expertise from auto mechanics to Bible studies.

Immediate Assistance Program

Until we complete the new building, the Family Shelter will continue to offer immediate assistance to families who find themselves in urgent need of housing, food, utility payments, car maintenance, etc. These families are referred to us by area churches and public service organizations. Between January and October 23, 2014, we provided 624 people nights worth of emergency shelter in local motels (homeless families with 1-4 children each). Financial updates - Thrivent Financial has underwritten a long range endowment for our operation and maintenance that offers the donors a 40% Montana personal income tax credit in addition to the IRS charitable donation deduction. We have pledges from local congregations to provide a reliable funding base to help us keep up with an ever increasing demand for assistance. We will continue to explore institutional and governmental grant funding sources also. We are aware that there are numerous non-profit organizations in need of support, all with equal importance, and we strongly feel that we are one of them. Our mission of helping families in this way allows them to not only stay in the area, but also become contributing members of our community. We would greatly appreciate any financial help that you can give us, and ask that you keep the Family Shelter of the Bitterroot, Inc. in mind when planning your charitable commitments.

If your family or a family you know of is in need, please contact Gary Locke:
406-239-8833 or

Thrivent Financial Services

An endowment program has been created in collaboration with Thrivent Financial Services to raise funds and support donations; Contributions to hte endowment offer donors 40% Montana State tax credit on top of the Federal tax deduction. [More]