Caregiver takes shelter manager shopping

Ketchikan | May 17, 2019
Shellie Saddoris pauses with full grocery cart for Ketchikan's shelter pantry
Not content to drop off bags of beans and rice, this PeaceHealth speech pathologist helped program buy supplies.

Schellie Saddoris was one of five children growing up on a farm in Indiana. “But there was always an extra person or two around the table,” she says now and laughs, “It’s hard to remember a time when there wasn’t some friend of mine or my brothers’ or sisters’ with us. My family never turned anyone away.”

Schellie is a speech-language pathologist at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. She is in the business of helping but her kindness isn’t limited to office hours. It’s just not how she sees the world, “If I see someone who needs help, I help. I hate to see people go hungry.”

What she saw was people going into the First City Homeless Shelter (FCHS) at the Methodist Church downtown. “I saw a guy and his two little girls and thought how that could be anybody because anybody can find themselves in need.”

In March, FCHS posted online that their cupboards were almost bare.  Schellie thought about getting big bags of rice or beans and dropping those off but then she had another thought, “I don’t know what they actually need. I want to help, and I always donate food around the holidays, but I don’t know what they need or want on a day-to-day basis.

“I decided to ask someone from the Shelter to go with me to the store and let them get what they need.”

Donita O’Dell is the Shelter Program Supervisor. She and her daughter went to Safeway with Schellie and they filled a cart with a mound of food.Shellie Saddoris checks out at the Ketchikan Safeway

“I was amazed at how well Donita plans her meals,” said Schellie, “She has so many mouths to feed and needs food that is easy and fairly quick to prepare.”

They bought pastas and bananas, frozen vegetables and staples like peanut butter, cheese, and bread. “They need food they can cook fast and they need food with calories and bulk to keep people filled up, all that plus ingredients for sandwiches for the sack lunches they make.”

Schellie bats away compliments on her generosity and points to her coworkers in Rehab Therapies and Home Health. It was payday and she didn’t have any pressing bills. “I mentioned it around the therapy and Home Health offices and wound up with almost $300.”

“People were so quick to give and so ready to offer help. I am so blessed to have these people around me.”

So are we, Schellie.

Vicki, Jennifer and ShellieThe Day Shelter, at the Methodist Church downtown, is open every day, year-round from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. only closing Sundays at 2 p.m. In Winter, they operate the Overnight Warming Center (OWC) which provides a warm, dry place to stay. The OWC closed April 13 for the summer and will reopen in October.

They have an ongoing need for sandwich ingredients and groceries like eggs, pancakes mix, and syrup for their breakfasts. Pasta is always needed along with coffee, tea and sugar.

Personal care items are welcome: disposable razors, travel size deodorants, tampons, foot powder, and first aid supplies, especially bandaids. They have a sock exchange so can always use new and used socks. An Amazon Wish List is updated frequently with their most pressing needs.

Pictured above are Vicki Campbell, rehab therapies office coordinator; Jennifer Kolanko PT, DBT, manager of rehabilitation therapies and Shellie.

Photo credit: Donita O'Dell