Helping Others Since 1832

UPCOMING EVENT: Join us for an important community symposium on homelessness sponsored by the Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem.

September 20, 2023. Doors open at 6:15pm.
Program begins at 6:45pm.
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jim O’Connell
Moderator: Rev. Liz Walker

It isn’t always a major disaster that pulls the rug out from under us. Sometimes it’s a relatively small thing, but, for most of us, it’s a temporary setback, something from which we can recover and move ahead. But for some people a sudden illness or loss of a job is a game changer.

Who We Are

The Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem, better known simply as the Samaritans, is a small, all-volunteer group that helps Salem residents in temporary financial distress get back on their feet. Our mission has remained virtually unchanged since our founding in 1832.

“To provide occasional financial assistance to those in less fortunate circumstances. It is our goal that by our actions we will help the recipients lift themselves up into a better position with a brighter future.”

A History of Helping

On December 10, 1832, perhaps inspired by the approach of Christmas, a “few ladies of Salem” established the Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem to provide occasional help to keep “desolation from the homes” of those less fortunate.

The glory days of Salem’s maritime trade had passed. Cotton mills, leather factories, the coal trade and waves of immigrants were beginning to characterize the city. The number of those living in poverty was rising. Not surprisingly, the new charitable society received many requests for assistance over the years that followed.

Incorporated in 1881, the Samaritans established a tradition—still followed today—of focusing on specific, one-time assistance to help an individual or family overcome temporary financial difficulties. Thousands of requests have been honored over the past 180+ years. The needs have changed, but there remains no shortage of good people trying to make ends meet as they face eviction, shortened work hours, or other adversities.

The Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem has an illustrious if little known history.  Today, we strive to broaden our reach, form new partnerships, help more people and live up to a noteworthy legacy.

Board of Directors

Meet our board of directors and contact us if you would like to know more about the Samaritan Charitable Society of Salem and our mission of helping.


Rachel Lutts, President
Jeffrey Beale, Treasurer
Debra Glabeau, First Vice President
Shelby Hypes, Second Vice President
Gina Maniscalco, Secretary


Maureen Dalton
T. Jane Dwyer
Jean Karam
Janet Kendall
Steve O’Connell
Julie Rose
Bob Strom
Kate Merry Walters

The Samaritans respond to one-time needs for assistance as opposed to providing ongoing financial support.  Recipients must be Salem residents (or come from Salem).  Often their need arises from the loss of a job or inability to work due to injury or illness. Today, too many people have had their financial stability upended by the pandemic. We have honored thousands of requests over the years.

They Needed a Hand Up. The Samaritans Reached Out.

  • Thanks to the Samaritans, a young man with no one else to turn to now has the bike he needs to get to his job.
  • Samaritan funds have not only helped stock the Salem Food Pantry, we’ve provided vouchers for the Salem Skipper so that Pantry clients have a way to pick up and take home their food.
  • Elderly people moving into subsidized housing need refrigerators and mattresses. The Samaritans have provided both.
  • We’ve paid overdue utility bills for families dealing with illness, job loss…or both.
  • YMCA and Boys and Girls Club camperships are on our agenda every year, so that kids have a safe place to be while their parents are at work.

How We Work

We partner with and receive requests for assistance from a variety of local organizations. Their referrals are often related to a personal need that falls outside the organization’s funding restrictions.  We welcome referrals and opportunities to partner with other organizations.

AgeSpan (formerly Elder Services of the North Shore)   •   Area churches   •   Boys and Girls Club   •   City Connects    •   City of Salem   •   Eliot Community Human Services   •   HAWC   •   House of the Seven Gables   •   LEAP for Education   •   Lifebridge North Shore   •  Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center   •   North Shore YMCA   •   Plummer Youth Promise   •   Pathways for Children   •   St. Vincent DePaul    •   Salem Academy Charter School   •   Salem Council on Aging   •   Salem Housing Authority   •   Salem Food Pantry   •   Salem Public Schools   •   Salem State University   •   Seamen’s Widow and Orphan Association

Thanks to such referrals, the Samaritans have:

  • Assisted with the security deposit and first month’s rent for a recently widowed woman financially limited until her increased Social Security benefits began;
  • Provided babysitting that enabled a young woman to complete the classes she needed to graduate from high school;
  • Replaced the boiler for a gentleman on a disability pension;
  • Paid the tuition for a 12-week job training program;
  • Purchased beds for a family whose apartment was flooded when pipes broke in the apartment above them.