Local Outreach & Mission



Community Meal:


Missionaries from our congregation prepare and serve a free community meal on the third Friday of every month.  Everyone in the community is welcome to join us. Preparation for the meal begins each third Friday around 3:30 and the meal is served from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. Join Us!!

Since February of 2009, Polson UMC has particpated in this ecumenical effort to provide a free meal to the community every Friday night throughout the year. Over the past two and a half years we have hosted a wide variety of folks from our community and have served over 1,400 meals.

[slider title=”More About The Community Meal”]


Monthly Location Schedule:

First Friday – Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Second Friday – First Presbyterian Church

Third Friday – Polson United Methodist Church  ~  5-7 p.m.

Fourth Friday – Journey Be Church

Fifth Friday (when it occurs) – Polson Community Church [/slider]


The Country Store:

 In the spring of 1967, four ladies from four local churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Christian, and Catholic) opened their hearts to help the needy – thus, Polson Country Store was born.

After expenses, all monies are donated back to the community.  We are always looking for volunteers to help in the store!

Today, there are ten churches involved with eighty plus volunteers manning the store on Main Street.  Each week, two churches work together on certain days of the week, with at least three persons on duty at all times.

[slider title=”More About The Country Store”]

The doors are open from 10:00a.m. until 4:00p.m., Monday through Friday.

Everything in the store is donated by a very caring community.

Unsold merchandise is pulled from the display racks after three months and donated to other charities, such as the Veterans’ Store in Kalispell.

Some of the organizations we support are:

  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Cheerful Heart
  • Helping Hands
  • Lake County Options
  • Loaves and Fish Food Pantry
  • Polson’s Senior Center
  • The Zone (for teenagers)
  • The ten churches that are involved with the store

The Country Store is sometimes referred to as the Little Boutique on Main Street.[/slider]



Personal Care Bag Project


Today eight churches in Polson work with the project and supply personal care items to nine human service agencies or organizations serving Lake County residents.Essentials include shampoo and soap to send a clean child to school, laundry soap for clean school or work clothes, deodorant and shaving cream for a good appearance at a job interview, and diapers for a mother who does not have the money for laundry soap or to buy diapers for her infant.

[slider title=”More About Personal Care Bag Project”]


Personal Care Bag Project originated in early 1990s as a small project in the First United Methodist Church of Polson. In 1994 the project expanded to include other Polson churches when Welfare Reform hit Lake County and the need grew beyond what one church could manage.  Also agencies working with low and no-income individuals and families could more effectively reach folks in need.

Agency budgets do not allow for purchase of personal items to have available in their offices as they work with folks who find it difficult to buy essentials.

Share the Spirit is our umbrella organization and allows us to have a legal non-profit status.  Share the Spirit programs include the Holiday Assistance Program, School Supplies Program and Personal Care Bag Project.[/slider]



Mission Partners:

Mission Partners was originated in the Polson United Methodist Church by Rev. Joseph Keyes, pastor from 1985-1993.  Mission giving is a way to expand our commitment to and involvement in God’s mission through prayerful and financial support of missional opportunities.  We are focused on programs that will aid children, youth, and women in the local community, state, national, and international areas.  Everyone is welcome to join and become a partner either as an individual or family by donating $10 monthly.  We meet quarterly to participate in a discussion of programs and decide how to spend the money donated.

[slider title=”More About Mission Partners”]


History of Donations since 2003…

Local Community:
Share the Spirit – $220.00
Polson Ministerial Association Helping Hands Fund – $1,290.00
Polson Loaves and Fish Food Pantry – $ 320.00
Lake County DOVES/SAFE HARBOR – $ 200.00
Ecumenical Vacation Bible Camp – $300.00
Ronald McDonald House – $ 350.00
Montana Food Bank – $ 90.00
Yellowstone Annual Conference (UMC) – $ 620.00
Intermountain Children’s Home – $ 700.00
Watson Children’s Shelter – $ 500.00
Red Bird Mission – $ 360.00
Women of Afghanistan – $ 394.00
Central Asia Institute – $ 945.00
Heifer International – $ 250.00
Women to Women International – $ 500.00
Operation Healing Hope – $ 250.00
United Methodist Committee on Relief – 25 school kit bags
Hospital in Haiti – $ 300.00
Soles for Souls – $200.00[/slider]



Polson Ministerial Association ~ Helping Hands Fund:

Helping Hands provides emergency assistance to people in need. It is an ecumenical project funded by the Polson Ministerial Association (PMA) member churches, fundraisers and grants. It was developed to take pressure off the Polson clergy, who were receiving frequent visits to their churches by individuals requesting emergency help. We are located on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Helping Hands is the only emergency needs program in Lake County.

[slider title=”More About Helping Hands Fund”]


The Helping Hands Fund has existed since February 2004. It was housed at various locations until finding its permanent location at St. Joseph Medical Center in the Grandview Clinic in April 2006. St. Joseph gives the program an in-kind contribution in the form of office space, a computer hook-up and phone line.

Since its inception, the program has assisted approximately 4100 individuals and family members. We serve the low income, disabled, elderly, tribal members, victims of domestic violence, transients, and those who find themselves in emergency situations due to unforeseen circumstances.

The program is staffed by a part-time administrator, who works 15 hours per week and is paid $15 an hour. Besides handling the vouchers, interviewing clients, keeping the database up-to-date, promoting the HHF, and working with the Polson churches, this person is responsible for writing small grants to help sustain the program.

When the office is closed, individuals are referred to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department for assistance. We have chosen to keep the program “low key” by not advertising , we have not printed brochures. However, it has not taken long for word to get out in the community. Referrals come from public and private agencies, schools, hospitals, churches and individuals. Those in need can call to set up an appointment or just drop in.

All individuals who receive assistance are entered into a database, which is shared by the churches, to prevent duplication of services. The program also refers individuals in need to more long-term resources in the community.

Services provided by HHF: food shelter, lodging, gas medications, bus tickets, meals, utilities, personal care items, and referrals to more long-term assistance.[/slider]



Cancer Support Group:

A support group for anyone affected by cancer meets on Mondays from 12 to 1 p.m. here at the Church. Organizers Tammy Walston and Terri Haynal, both cancer survivors, invite other survivors, patients, caregivers, family members or friends of those affected by cancer. Their aim is to provide a warm and safe place for people to share their thoughts and experiences.  Gatherings are informal allowing folks to drop-in when schedules and life permits.

[slider title=”More About Cheerful Heart”]

The support group is being sponsored by Cheerful Heart, Inc. a local non-profit that provides free non-medical services to Lake County cancer patients. Questions can be directed to Tammy Walston 406-824-2868 or Terri Haynal at work 883-1580 or home 883-2065.[/slider]



Share the Spirit Holiday Assistance

Share the Spirit Holiday Assistance has existed in Lake County since 1998.  The program was started with a plea from the Lake County Office of Public Assistance manager, Marilyn Becker.  Her office works with welfare families and individuals in the county.  Her employees had created a small holiday assistance program out of concern for the need they saw.  Other county agencies, organizations and churches were doing something similar.  No one knew what others were doing and the task was overwhelming when added to regular job responsibilities.

[slider title=”More About Share The Spirit”]

Share the Spirit Holiday Assistance was created by a group of community-minded folks to assist county agencies and organizations, plus provide a clearinghouse database to curb abuse and increase efficiency which allows those most in need to be helped.[/slider]



SAFE HARBOR  ~ A Domestic Violence Support Group:

Polson United Methodist Church is proud to be a supporter of SAFE HARBOR.  SAFE HARBOR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. All of our services are provided free of charge. The funding for much of our client assistance comes from generous donations from concerned citizens. Your support is greatly appreciated.

[slider title=”More About  Safe Harbor”]

Based on the philosophy that domestic and sexual violence is unacceptable,

the staff of SAFE HARBOR:

Provides culturally sensitive services, free of charge, including advocacy and support to victims and their children who are in abusive situations.

Offers encouragement, support, and options that allow victims and survivors of domestic, sexual and other violent crimes to make informed decisions about their lives.

Strives to enhance the self-esteem of those we serve, and to encourage self determination by providing a respectful, supportive, and encouraging environment with positive role modeling.

Offers public education on the dynamics and prevention of domestic and sexual violence.

SAFE HARBOR’s mission is to address and prevent domestic and sexual violence in Lake County and on the Flathead Indian Reservation through community outreach, prevention education and information, and advocacy for victims of violent crime.

Visit the SAFE HARBOR website for more information…