Great Falls Rescue Mission

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In the ongoing conversation about what is wrong with Great Falls, Thomas Figarelle penned an interesting article on the Trib site in which he challenges people who complain about the “negatives” of Great Falls (too many casinos, nothing for young professionals, etc).

I like what he says: if you don’t like certain things in and about Great Falls, then you should take steps to make things better – in other words, as the title of his article states, wishing won’t make it so. But in his recitation about a few of the negative aspects of our community, one in particular left me wondering:

Today, as you read this, the number of individuals living in our city’s Rescue Mission rivals the number of students enrolled in the University of Great Falls.

UGF has an enrollment of approximately 800 students. Does Figarelle mean that on any given night there are 800 people residing at the Rescue Mission? The implication is that there are about 800 people who live at the Mission.

The Great Falls Rescue Mission website states that in August, they served 5,893 meals and “sheltered 1,776.” Does that mean that nearly 1,800 people spent at least one night at the Mission? Or does it mean that nearly 60 people spent an entire month there (1776/31)? Somewhere in between 60 and 1800, I’m sure, but that’s a pretty wide range, which makes it hard to put it into perspective – which is why comparing it to something concrete, such as UGF enrollment, helps people visualize the number. But which number is it: fewer than 100, more than 1700, or closer to 800?

By the way, the GFRM has a handy donation page that allows you to donate specific amounts, use your credit card or bank account, and even make a “tribute” donation.



  1. A little off topic but I found it interesting. Yesterday, I interviewed a resident of the mission for an entry level job. The fellow had no significant work experience, job skills and evidently no money. He adimately stated he would not work after 5:00pm and wouldn’t work weekends. Surprise surprise, he didn’t get an offer. This is no reflection on the mission who I think is one of the best models for aid to the poor but some insight as to some of the personalities they have to deal with.

  2. Tom was a bit off. The two Rescue Mission shelters have been sleeping about 60/night. Recently 15 long-term men, 15 short-term men, 13 women and 13 children. That’s 59 too many, but a far cry from UGF’s enrollment.


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