The Alano Club, a converted Kalispell bar where a number of addiction recovery groups hold more than 50 meetings every week, is looking to repay the remaining debt on its Meridian Road facility with help from the local community.
The volunteer-led club is unaffiliated with the groups that make use of the building, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and others, and is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that relies in part on donations to pay its monthly operational expenses. In the two years since the club relocated from a smaller building near Kalispell Center Mall, it has repaid most of its $125,000 in incurred debt, but an outstanding balance of $13,300 remains.
o pay its bills, the club receives modest contributions from the groups who use the facility and offers those in recovery memberships — either $10 per month or $110 per year — to get “free Wi-Fi access and all the coffee and stale donuts you can eat.”
Joking aside, Tim Harmon, president of the Alano Club’s board of directors, said those dollars are vastly insufficient to pay even regular expenses, including gas, electricity, snow removal and property taxes, let alone pay down the remaining debt. He estimated the group is about $700 per month short of break-even.
Harmon said the club does not plan to host any large fundraising events in an effort to maintain the general anonymity of its members and recovery groups, but that there is costly work needed on the remodeled building. If and when the debt is paid in full, the club’s board would like to install outdoor lights to illuminate the parking lot, repave that parking lot and create one-on-one rooms for those in recovery and their sponsors, along with other cosmetic improvements.
Since its founding in 2001, the Alano Club has been strongly supported by the community and its members, Harmon said, and that grateful participants in the recovery groups or their families have chipped in on some remodeling projects.
“Our mission is to provide a safe environment for recovery groups to meet, for the members of those groups and their families,” Harmon said. “A lot of these men and women, there would be no place else to go. We provide them an environment where they can show up and instead of walking into a bar and picking up a drink, or placing a bet, they can walk in the Alano Club and pick up a cup of coffee and find somebody in there they can talk to.”
Donations to the Alano Club are tax deductible, and while Harmon was appreciative of the group’s largest donors, he stressed that every contribution has an impact.
“Quite frankly, if it’s a $5 donation, we appreciate it as much as we do a $5,000 donation, and that is the honest to God’s truth,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to raise money to make (the Alano Club) an even more attractive place for people to go.”
The Alano Club is located at 153 North Meridian Road in Kalispell and is open 365 days a year, including holidays. To support the club, donations should be mailed to The Alano Club, P.O. Box 9762-59904 in Kalispell.
Anyone who believes they or a loved one may be experiencing a substance abuse disorder can call (406) 314-4030 for help.
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