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7/23/2012 11:38:00 AM
A deserving operation
Blanchet House image
Architect's rendering of the new Blanchet House.
Blanchet House image
Architect's rendering of the new Blanchet House.

News that the Blanchet House in downtown Portland received a large donation from the Meyer Memorial Trust generated excitement hereabouts. The donation helped the organization finance the construction of its new building, scheduled to open this fall.

Blanchet House is one of the most resourceful and genuine social-service projects in the region.

The organization began its service  in 1952 when a group of University of Portland students devised a plan to help the needy. Inspired by Archdiocese of Portland priest Father Francis Kennard (who himself was inspired by Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day), the students started serving simple meals to those in need.

Today Blanchet serves 700-900 meals a day, six days a week, totaling nearly 300,000 free meals per year. Blanchet also provides housing to men looking for a second chance. In exchange for their sobriety, they work at the Blanchet House serving food to those who need it, and keeping up the building. The organization also hums with more than 5,000 folks who volunteer every year.

Archbishop John G. Vlazny has called the Blanchet House an example of “doing the work of the Church in the world.”

The remaining funds to raise total around $700,000 for this amazing ministry.
We know that during summertime, people like to kick back a little. We spend money on barbecues and road trips — flights to faraway places.

But perhaps a little bit of that money that would’ve been spent on summer hijinks could go to the Blanchet House to help them make their goal.

It would be money well spent.

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