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Safe Shelter and Heaven’s Helpers Soup Cafe

November 9, 2013

North Dakota – Wednesday, October 30

Since I ended up in Jamestown last night, I looked into donation possibilities in the area, and discovered Safe Shelter – a place of crisis intervention  for victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and stalking.  They’ve been helping people (mostly women, but the occasional man also) since 1980 an and there were several  wish lists on their website for a variety of things like office supplies, first aid supplies, household supplies and children/infant supplies. So I called them to see if there was something they were most in need of today, and the lady I spoke with said it would be “amazing” to get a couple $25 gas cards (used to help people leave a bad situation when they’re ready to start over with a new life) and she gave me the address of the home which of course is not on the website (a lot of websites have red cautionary warnings reminding victims that computer usage can be traced and is often impossible to completely clear, and to use a safe computer if possible or call the help line). I met Mary at the house, and she was very gracious. Even though this is kind of a rural community (sometimes a problem in itself due to the isolation on large farms), they helped about 100 domestic abuse victims (along with about 100 of their children) and 16 sexual abuse victims last year. The people at the shelter help victims in a variety of ways, depending on each individual case – and I’m sure she’s heard stories that many of us can’t begin to imagine.


Tula and I set off for a walk around Jamestown, but Tula didn’t walk very far. She’s hobbling a bit and it makes me wonder if she did something to her leg when she was being goofy in the snow yesterday. Her left hind leg seems to be sore and she was actually hopping a bit on 3 legs, so I didn’t keep her out any longer than to take care of her business. Then I set off for a long walk around town – past historic buildings downtown and out into some of the neighborhoods. This town was the birthplace of Louis L’Amour who wrote a lot of Western novels. Theoretically there’s a Louis L’Amour Walking Trail but with some of the construction around and an empty lot where his house was, I didn’t see anything of interest relating to him (I don’t think I’ve read any of his novels either!).  I walked over 3 1/2 miles in Jamestown.


Then I started to head west for Bismarck. Trudy’s daughter Sommer had called me yesterday to invite me to stay with her and her husband John in Bismarck. Plus she had made a list of various places to walk, and would be able to leave work early today to do some walking with me. So I left Jamestown after a short stop at Frontier Village to see the World’s Largest Buffalo – a 60-ton, 26-foot tall statue of a buffalo. I’ve seen real buffalo all over the place so I had to see the world’s biggest statue!  It was so big I could walk under its stomach.  The little village had some old frontier buildings too – it was fun to take a quick walk through.


I drove to Bismarck and met Sommer at the Department of Transportation where she works. The DOT is right next to the Capitol Building, and she had recently become friends with the lieutenant governor, Drew Wrigley, and she said he wanted to meet me. So we went over there and I met him and we all chatted for a while and he thanked me for helping out some organizations in North Dakota. Then he  gave me a new collector’s coin that was created to honor the Navy’s newly-floated submarine that was named the USS North Dakota. The sub was so new that it hadn’t been christened yet – according to the website that happened on November 2, only 3 days later. Then Sommer took me up to the 14th floor (maybe 18th?!?) of the capitol building to get a bird’s-eye view of Bismarck. The Capitol building is not the typical dome-shaped building like so many of them are – Sommer told me it used to be, but there was a fire somewhere along the way, and they replaced it with a more traditional looking office building. Then we went outside and walked on the pedestrian trail all around the capitol grounds. There was a big tree laying on the ground that had turned into petrified wood – like the petrified wood I saw in Arizona, this one also looked like quartz.


After walking around the whole capitol area, we went to pick up her weekly farm produce – Sommer and her husband are part of a farm-share co-op type program, and every week they go pick up whatever produce is in season. Today there were different kinds of squash, beets, potatoes, salad greens (the farm keeps a greenhouse), broccoli and radishes. They get a whole lot of produce every week and they can’t always use it all,  so Sommer was going to take a bunch of it over to Heaven’s Helpers Soup Cafe. Since we were headed over there, I decided I wanted to make another donation today. This soup kitchen was different from lots of the ones I’d visited because it was open every weekday from 11am to 7pm so that the hungry people could come any time of day. Most soup kitchens are only open for an hour or so, and they often have a line of people waiting for them to open up. We met up with the director, and he said they haven’t shopped at a store since 2009 thanks to all the donations they get. He appreciated all the produce Sommer gave him, and said he’ll be happy to use my donation to shop for some items that aren’t typically donated. We stepped inside the soup kitchen and it smelled good – there were quite a few people in there enjoying a hot meal.


Then Sommer and I headed for the Missouri River where we walked a bit on one of the river trails, and then she took me to a another trail near a local college that climbed up a bit for pretty views over the Missouri River and some of the surrounding land. Then we went back to her house, and I walked Tula a little more – she’s still hobbling around although she doesn’t seem to be in pain; but it worries me. Altogether I walked almost 9 miles today. Sommer and her husband made a yummy dinner that included some homemade venison/pork/jalapeno sausage. They assured me the jalapenos were actually quite mild and it was very good. We visited for a while after dinner, then I got some computer work done after they turned in – they also get going really early in the mornings.


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One Comment
  1. Leif Nygaard permalink

    Love that picture of the Wells Fargo stagecoach!

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