Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where there's heart, there's 'Project Hope' in Columbus, Montana

Project Hope in Columbus, Montana, offers hope for the new year and beyond
to anyone in need in Stillwater County.  Here, the Project's next-door sister 
 shop, Laughing Ladies, aids the effort through antiques and vintage clothing.

I'VE ALWAYS been proud of the warm-hearted spirit of small towns.
Project Hope in Columbus, Montana, is proof that good deeds and generosity can change lives.
The non-profit organization provides help from the heart for needy families in Stillwater County -- a chilly place now that winter is upon the northern Rockies.
An unassuming storefront leads the way to Project Hope.
Project Hope is a volunteer effort with a little bit of everything,
and help for the needy in Stillwater County, Montana.
A window display shows the range
of clothing, fashion accessories and more.
Hope brings just that -- hope -- and warmth -- in warm winter clothing, welcome food, bedding, furniture and household goods. School supplies find their way to eager students, in donated books, paper,

CLICK HERE to BUY......... Lilian's Last Dance

art, pens, pencils, writing materials, back packs and studying aids.
THIS FROSTY time of year, Project Hope's belief that people should not be homeless or hungry makes a real impact.
This small mountain town is 40 miles from Billings, Montana's largest city.  Founded as a stage coach stop along the Yellowstone River, Columbus is home to middle-class families, the usual mix of working parents and stay-home moms.  There are retirees, too, and successful businessmen and ranchers.  But there are needy people, who may not be eligible for other aid.
Through the town's generosity and a faithful network of volunteers, Project Hope was born.
The Project relies on donations from the public, area stores and businesses. "We exist from grants, donations of generous residents, and a yearly fundraiser," a volunteer told me.
Well tended clothing -- gently used --
  is part of the charm of Project Hope. 
Laughing Ladies, the Project's "sister store," is a charming vintage shop of unique clothing, antiques, art and sundries. Laughing Ladies contributes 30 per cent of its take to Hope.
WE STOPPED BY the pair of stores on an autumn visit to Columbus before the first snow. We came because a good friend, also a Project Hope volunteer, spotted a painting done by a woman who once lived in our 1881 log room in our renovated home in the Beartooths. Our friend recognized the setting and knew the artist's history with the place.
Project Hope's fare ranges from kitschy
to collectible, antiques, fun finds and more.
A gorgeous mirror will hang in a Montana country home,
a recent find at Project Hope in Columbus, Montana.
We called to see if Helen Hereford's painting of the mountain and meadows of our beloved property might still be there.  It was! So Project Hope put it aside for us to come buy it. While we were there, we found another treasure perfect for the country place: a wonderful mirror artfully framed with cowboy boot pieces. We strolled about Project Hope and Laughing Ladies, enjoying banter of customers and volunteers, browsing the well organized pair of stores which so delightfully complement one another. There's also a consignment wing to the operation.
MONEY EARNED through these donated, resold items there, plus a percentage of commissioned items, go back to Project Hope.
Home may be where the heart is, as the old saw goes. But "hope" -- make that Project Hope -- has a
lot of heart, too. Happy New Year, Columbus friends.  Thanks for sharing, and keeping us mindful that generosity is a gift to the giver.

Tony Bennett -- in his late 80s -- and Lady Gaga -- 28 --
have a fantastic vocal blend and we're excited to see them!
COMING UP:  Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga hit Las Vegas for New Year's Eve and so do we! We'll be there for their sold-out show, "Cheek to Cheek."  Then we're Down Under at Australia's famous Sydney Opera House, plus a near miss with a terrorist, delights of the sea, new friends, fabulous food, Maori life in New Zealand,
"Cheek to Cheek" for New Year's Eve -- Tony Bennett
and Lady Gaga, above, and Cookie and Keller, at left!
Follow our adventures -- cheek to
cheek (well, most of the time!)
exotic birds, surfing and diving, bridge climbing and more.  Remember to explore, learn and live, and visit us Wednesdays and weekends at:
And have a look at our new novel, "Lilian's Last Dance," an Amazon e-book with free downloads to any device. Romance, adventure, history, film, theater, art. We think you will enjoy it. Let us know!

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