After Governor Brown's shelter-in-place order was announced, Jesuit families sprang into action to help neighbors in need. For Blanchet House, a longtime JHS Christian Service partner, demand for meal service increased instantaneously, and the call went out for a "no-contact" sack lunch drive.
After announcing the initiative to the Jesuit community, Andrea Casey, Director of Arrupe Center for Justice, shared sack lunch "menus," or guidelines for safe food prep and no contact drop-off instructions. Within 24 hours, JHS families had committed to making 600 sack lunches. By 48 hours, the count was up to 1,500. By Thursday, 130 families had signed up to prepare over 2,500 lunches, and by noon on Friday, April 3, Jesuit had collected approximately 5,000 to-go lunches for Blanchet House. Many of the lunches carried notes of love and encouragement.
Blanchet House Executive Director and JHS current parent Scott Kerman was overjoyed by Jesuit's rapid response to those in need. "There is no way for me to adequately describe how much this event and the incredible response of the JHS community means to me personally, to Blanchet House, and to the people we serve," says Kerman. "This moment in time crystallizes what it means to be men and women for others. The lines of cars stretching from one end of the parking lot to the other was a real Field of Dreams moment. It is an image I will carry with me forever."
After Blanchet House had met their needs for the day, there were still plenty of lunches to share. Over 200 surplus lunches went to Rose Haven Day Shelter, Portland Rescue Mission, St. John Food Share, and Stone Soup, currently offering meals at the Convention Center.
As a result of the event's success, dozens of schools across the Portland Metro area have been reaching out to Blanchet House to lend a hand.
"The event was not a solution, but it was a sign of hope," says Andrea Casey. "So many people are looking for ways to help right now and were grateful to do something meaningful as a family, and offer a bit of relief to those experiencing food insecurity and homelessness."
Want to get involved? Each week through the spring, we'll be sharing ideas for simple family service projects that can be done from the comfort of home! Learn more.
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