Paint Warms Hearts, Manager Position Posted, Angels in the Night

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December 17, 2009

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Paint Warms Hearts  

 While others are decking the halls this Christmas, some generous painters in Nanaimo got together to paint the halls of Samaritan House Emergency Shelter for Women.

Local painter Kathy Millister heard about the need for a new coat to warm the corridors and dorms of Nanaimo’s oldest shelter. Working in cooperation with Island Crisis Care Society’s volunteer coordinator Diana Hryhorka, Kathy communicated the need and rallied support.

Within a matter of days 20 painters from 14 companies had signed on to help and interior designer J B D Design Group had created a pallet of shades to foster peace via the important background milieu of color.

Shelter staff desired a color scheme that would highlight the beautiful quilts donated by talented volunteer Carol Harding that hang in the program. For volunteer opportunities at ICCS please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Diana Hryhorka at: (250) 716-1400 or by e-mail at

“You can’t believe the difference a consistent and thoughtfully created color scheme cPainter on Stairsan have on people,” said Executive Director Barbara Maclellan, “It is a significant part of creating a mood in a building and we feel honoured to receive this gift that will continue to give a sense of calm and to our clients over the next few years.”

Michael Jewell, interim manager at Samaritan House, coordinated the day for clients, arranging for them to be elsewhere during the whirlwind of work. The entire shelter was painted in one day, except for a few high areas that required special equipment. “The spirit around the place was extremely upbeat,” Michael said, “and everything went off according to plans with few glitches.” 

Paint for the project was donated by General Paint Regional Manager Mark Hamilton and Nanaimo Manager Vince Ollech who were both pleased to support the worthy cause. Additional paint and supplies was purchased from money’s donated by the First Baptist Bell Ringer Choir under the direction of Cara Beirnes.

Samaritan House serves hundreds of women each year and dedicated staff see the effect of all those people moving in and out of the shelter. “The walls take a beating,” Barb said, “and staying on top of maintenance is a big job. It is really hard to paint a building that is open 24 hours a day and has up to 20 people in it at any given time, you just never have an opportunity to paint when people are not around.” That is why the one day painting bee made so much sense.

Last year the shelter received a face lift when volunteers sewed and hung new draperies in the shelter to compliment the new windows that were installed through a variety of grants from BC Housing, Vancouver Island Health Authority, and Service Canada. The draperies and the quilts were taken into account when planning the color scheme and shelter staff and clients are very happy with the results.

“Each little touch adds to the comfort experienced by women who stay at the program,” Michael said, “and we feel privileged to live in a community where so many people give selflessly to those in crisis. That’s what community is all about.” Samaritan House receives donations from many groups throughout the year and are looking at ways of making the donation process easier for people. “You can always give financial gifts,” Barb said, “and you can donate online at our website.”

Manager Sought for Samaritan House

  Aylynn Marsh will not be moving forward in a professional capacity with Island Crisis Care Society at Samaritan House. ICCS accepted Aylynn’s resignation in recognition of our philosophical differences.

Shelter management will be shared in the short term by existing staff and a new posting for the position is located here:

Angels in the Night

Smiling Angels Christmas is a time for angels and this Christmas Samaritan House was blessed by the visitation of angels bearing gifts. The gifts were boxes of much needed clothing, toiletries, and other essentials purchased and coordinated by the Angels in the Night Program.

An Angel in the Night is a community effort sponsored by Invis, one of Canada's largest independent mortgage brokerage firms. Every year in mid-December, hundreds of Angels in the Night volunteers – Invis Mortgage Consultants along with their business and lending partners – hit the streets in cities across Canada from Halifax to Victoria to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.

After fund-raising throughout the year local Angels in the Night organizers work with established homeless shelter providers in Nanaimo (Island Crisis Care Society, the Salvation Army, and the Unitarian Church) to ensure that the goods purchased are needed, and that funds are sMore Angelspent wisely and with greatest impact.  

Nationally, 15 per cent of the goods purchased by Angels in the Night organizers for shelters are for children and youth, with another third going to women.  

Barb and Granville Maclellan were on hand with Michael Jewell and Samaritan House staff to accept the generous donations and give the local Angels, led by Joe Tomkins and coordinated by Kim Chalmers, a warm welcome.

If you are interested in INVIS and the Angels in the Night program follow these links: and


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