St. Pius assistance programs in Kootenai County.

Basic needs from St. Pius, such as food or clothing for work, are some of the more common requests. Those also tend to be a little easier to fulfill by the Social Services Ministry. However, when it comes to financial aid, this is very limited. Many low to moderate income families in Kootenai County need a little help from time to time with expenses ranging from rent to moving costs, medications or utility bills. When possible, the non-profit will try to assist, or at least offer referrals.

St. Pius Food Pantry Shelf is one of the largest facilities serving emergency food for needy families in Coeur D Alene. This pantry has run for many years using the generous help of volunteers and donations. A very large percentage of the food that is distributed also comes from the non-profit Feeding America. Also, fresh produce is purchased directly from a local wholesaler.

The center also runs seasonal as well as holiday initiatives for the children from low-income families. Examples of these assistance programs include Easter Baskets, Halloween Costumes, Holiday Gifts and Backpacks.

For an immediate hot meal, the Ecumenical Soup Kitchen is an option. This is provided in partnership with other churches across Kootenai County. The homeless or families living in poverty can get immediate relief from the soup kitchen. There are even funeral dinners help for those that recently had to bury a loved one.

Outreach is available from St. Pius Social Services. The program provides emergency assistance and planning to individuals and families who are dealing with a short term, time defined financial hardship. Among other resources, the agency will partner with the local utility companies in offering assistance with energy bill payments. They may enter into payment plans for reducing clients’ utility debts and at the same time in arranging for more manageable payment options going forward.

Other aid is offered in Kootenai County as well. Outreach also provides emergency rent assistance, referrals to food pantries, and other supportive services to eligible individuals and families throughout Kootenai County. There is also information on low income housing that is both safe and affordable. Some of this financial help is run in partnership with Catholic Charities of North Idaho.




Another focus is on employment as well as supporting residents with a medical emergency. If a Kootenai County resident had an unexpected auto repair, and they need the car for work, the church will partner with the applicant to try to find an affordable way to repair it. When it comes to the increasing costs of prescription drugs, vouchers can be used by St. Pius to help offset some of those bills.

St. Pius offer outreach for other basic needs as well. There may be clothing for work. Children from low income households may be able to receive free school supplies, such as notebooks, before going back to school. Other aid may be winter coats, boots, and similar goods.

The homeless and very low income can get help with toiletries. The items are passed out from local shelters or the St. Pius main office as well. There may be soap, cleaning supplies, feminine products, household cleaning supplies, and much more.

The St. Pius Senior Focal Point Center serves both homebound as well as independent senior citizens in the community. Many programs are run from the local churches in the service area. They include recreational activities, educational programs, or legal services. There are also volunteer opportunities for seniors, caregiver assistance, and information and referrals are all available.

As an example of referrals, the staff at the center also helps clients access Medicare or financial aid programs, such as for energy bills. Senior residents can also drop in for a free meal or snack and gain the company of their peers at the same time. The food is prepared for center residents. Morning snacks and hot, nutritious lunches are available as well.

As with any charity, the goal is to end a cycle of poverty. St. Pius staff can refer residents to local Smart Money Management Training centers. These are arranged by partners and offer a number of workshops and other services to assist participants who are working to get their finances in order to pay down their debts, buy a first home or achieve another financial goal. So the service is wide ranging.




Additional topics covered include smart spending, recognizing a predatory lender, saving money and improving credit ratings. Participants of the various St. Pius programs who meet eligibility criteria also receive free tax return preparation, with an emphasis on accessing all federal government and state of Idaho tax credits to which they are entitled, including the Earned Income.

The St. Pius ministry covers many portions of Kootenai County. The main address is 625 E Haycraft Ave, Coeur D Alene, Idaho 83815, and residents should call 208-765-5108.


By Jon McNamara

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