Easton's My Brother’s Keeper Supplies Household Necessities
June 13, 2011
by: Susan Parkou Weinstein
Erich Miller still has the note a 71-year old Brockton woman sent to My Brother's Keeper to thank the volunteers for helping her in her time of need.
The few modest pieces of furniture they had brought her - a new bed, bookshelf and coffee table - made her new apartment "look like a beautiful home," Virginia wrote on a purple floral card.
"It was like being in a dream. My new bed is perfect. I have no backaches since," she said. "I can't thank you all enough. You are all angels."
Erich Miller, executive director of My Brother's Keeper, says he tells his young volunteers that Virginia could be their grandmother or grandfather.
"Can you imagine that?" he said he asks them.
Providing the basics of life - a table to eat on or a shelf to place a family photo - remains the core mission of My Brother's Keeper 23 years after James and Theresa Orcutt founded the faith-based organization.
Today, the charityoperates out of a building on Congregation of Holy Cross land next to Stonehill College and delivers furniture and household items year round to thousands of residents from Dorchester to Taunton.
A native of New Orleans, Miller said he was surprised to discover when he arrived in New England almost two decades ago that there was no organization south of Boston dedicated to providing furniture and basic household necessities to those in need.
Mattresses and sofas are challenging items to procure and deliver, requiring trucks and heavy lifting. But hundreds of volunteers, many of them students, seem willing to lend helping hands and their strong backs everyday.
Miller said My Brother's Keeper is thriving because its model is unique. It takes no government funding and is supported entirely by private donations and the devotion of its volunteers.
They bring sofas and beds to homes where pillows and blankets are laid out on the floor and "it's very clear where the person was sleeping," Miller said.
"It's a very powerful thing for a young person to see - the things we often take for granted," he said.
The organization also runs an energetic Christmas toy and food drive. It served 72 towns this past holiday season, covering an area as far north as Woburn and as far south as the Cape.
The first Family Fun Walk was held last year at the request of the thousands of Christmas volunteers who were looking for ways to stay involved throughout the year.
The Second Annual My Brother's Keeper Family Walk will be held on June 18
The theme of the three-mile Second Annual Fun Walk on June 18 is "building community one step at a time."
The event is rain or shine.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. followed by a 10 a.m. prayer service. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m.
There is no entry fee or registration charge but pledges are encouraged and accepted.
Business sponsorships are available and have raised more than $100,000. Local philanthropist Jack Shaughnessywill donate$25 for each participant pledging or contributing$25 or more, up to $10,000.
To register, download a pledge sheet and learn more about the Family Walk, please visit www.MyBrothersKeeperFamilyWalk.org
Parking available at Holy Cross Center, 500 Washington Street. No pets please.
Free family fun activities include puppet shows, balloonist, fast pitch radar, face painting, field games and pony rides. Pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and popcorn will be available for sale at $1-2 per item.
How to reach My Brother's Keeper
My Brother's Keeper Helpline, 508- 238-4416, is answered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 12:30 and 3 p.m.
To donate furniture to My Brother's Keeper, call 508-238-7512. Furniture pickups are scheduled between January and mid-November. For more information on communities served and where furniture is accepted, visit www.mybrotherskeeper.org. Financial donations may be sent to: My Brother's Keeper, Inc., P.O. Box 338, Easton, MA 02356.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.