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Great Falls realtors take steps to help the homeless

Thompson advocates supporting homeless students in Cascade County
Posted at 2:33 PM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 16:33:39-04

Today, as a tribute to World Homeless Day, the Great Falls Association of Realtors is taking active measures to help the homeless.

Great Falls Association of Realtors CEO Terry Thompson advocates supporting homeless students in Cascade County.

“One of our missions with the Great Falls Association of Realtors is to be an advocate in our community...Being that we’re in the home business, we really want to make sure that every person has the ability to have shelter,” Thompson said.

An organization responsible for housing the community, the Great Falls Association of Realtors (GFAR) felt it was their duty to help the homeless.

“We knew we had to do something. The realtors are in the housing business so we wanted to provide some opportunities for the homeless students,” Thompson said.

In 2015, GFAR launched Stand Up for Students, a cause devoted to keeping students housed and in school by providing funds to the Great Falls Public School Foundation.

According to Thompson, the student homeless population has more than tripled, from 165 students in 200 to nearly 500 in the four years since Stand Up for Students began.

Although the amount of homeless students has increased, so has the amount of community participation.

In the initial years of their fundraising, the realtors held fundraisers during the summer months. However, ever since last year when they learned of World Homeless Day, an annual event held every October 10th to raise awareness about the homeless, they decided to expand their efforts to include more of the community.

“One of the things we are doing to raise awareness is allowing restaurants to participate,” Thompson said.

This year several food establishments are joining in, including Mackenzie River Pizza Co., Dairy Queen, The Last Straw Bistro, Big Mouth BBQ, and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.

This is Beef O’ Brady’s third year participating in World Homeless Day, the beginning of what they hope is a longtime tradition.

General Manager Casey Whyte explained why she chose to get involved. “I did not realize as much of probably great falls doesn't realize, how many homeless children are working so hard to complete their education by living on the streets, with friends, maybe cousins, or far-family. So this is a great opportunity for us, again as a community in Great Falls, to get together and support our kids,” Whyte said.

And restaurants aren’t the only establishments serving students. Holiday Inn also teamed up with GFAR to screen a film that will help bring awareness to homelessness.

The screening of Converge: Many Stories, One Voice will begin at 6 p.m.

Participating locations and the hours they’ll be collecting proceeds are listed below:

Last Straw Bistro

(9:00 AM - 7:00 PM)

  • Donating 20% of Sales

Dairy Queen Fox Farm

  • Donating 20% of Sales

Dairy Queen Downtown

  • Donating 20% of Sales

Big Mouth BBQ at The Front

11:00 AM - 9:00 PM

  • Donating $1 Per Pint Sold


MacKenzie River Pizza Company
11:00 AM - 11:00 PM

  • MUST BRING VOUCHER
  • Donating 20% of Food Sales Including Takeout

Beef 'O' Brady's

5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

  • Donating 10% of Food Sales Including Takeout

Holiday Inn

  • Donating 20% of Sales

6:00 PM

Converge: Many Stories, One Voice Film Showing

All proceeds raised at today’s events will benefit the Great Falls Public School Foundation. GFAR is hoping to raise $10,000 for the foundation. You can learn about more events benefiting the homeless community or how to donate on the Stand Up For Students Facebook page .