When the people of Forest Lake, Minnesota, have a job that’s too big for one person to tackle, they can tap into a resource not many towns have—a squad of good Samaritans ready to assist in any way they can.
The group began when Forest Lake resident Mike Kaiser had an idea to form a team of volunteers that could help with random tasks in the area that might be cost-prohibitive or logistically difficult for seniors and other people in need. If someone is unable to afford their home repairs or yard work, for example, they could call the group to receive assistance.
Kaiser posted a recruitment ad online over the summer and received dozens of responses from people ready and willing to devote their time and skills. The Forest Lake Good Samaritans currently number roughly 100 members and tackle whatever projects they can, from simple roof repairs to community outreach tasks like water pollution awareness.
Eventually, Kaiser hopes the group can generate a pool of funds to help when people need more specialized assistance, like car repairs. He also hopes to obtain a 501(c)(3) exemption that would keep the group tax-free.
As the group continues to grow, Kaiser has found one unintended benefit of his goal. “It's a great way to meet your neighbors,” he told The Forest Lake Area Lowdown. “Out of the hundred people [in the group], I only knew probably 10 of them before; a few people said they just moved into the area and joined to meet people. I just think it's a big venue to meet people.”