// Blanchet House

Linda and Win serving up good timesTRL members volunteer on the third Saturday of every month at the Blanchet House, a local establishment providing daily meals to those in need. Members help with dinner preparation and service.

In December of 2003, TRL member Linda Decker asked if the club would be willing to collect clothing for the homeless and volunteer for an evening during the holiday season at the Blanchet House, a local establishment serving meals to the needy. She brought the idea to the board of directors and put in motion what would become a monthly staple in the activities of Team Red Lizard.

Every month since then club members have volunteered their time to help those less fortunate.

If you would like to volunteer, sign up via the message board. There is a thread on the message board 1 to 2 weeks prior to the Saturday we are scheduled to assist.

A letter from Brian Ferschwiller, the Blanchet House Executive Director:

The Blanchet House concept was originally conceived after World War II by a group that called themselves the Blanchet Club, named after an Oregon missionary archbishop. They would bring food down to skid row, as Burnside was known in those days, and pass it out to the men who were down on their luck (referred to in those days as bums and winos but not politically correct in this day and age).

In 1952 they were able to put rent down on the location we currently reside in, and began serving breakfast at 8 a.m. and dinner at 5 p.m.. Looking through a old edition of the Oregonian, (circa 1953), I came upon an article which featured the Blanchet House and the number of people they were serving per day back then, between 600-800, coincide ironically with the same figures we are dealing with today. It is not only the homeless that seek a hot meal but there are many people on a fixed income and those with low income paying jobs who live within blocks of the House that also come to us for assistance.

Regarding the men who live and work at the House, the Blanchet Farm, and Mr. Riley’s Place, there are currently 60 of them in the program, and in various stages of recovery from drugs and alcohol. When they come to us most of them have a bag or backpack full of their possessions, and we try and help them out with clothing, razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste, etc. This is a common occurrence at all three locations, so we are always looking for donations that can benefit these men on a short term basis. Many of them work their way on to being staff at one of the locations and they are then welcome to stay up to six months if all goes well. Most of our food donations come from businesses like Trader Joes, Convention Center, Safeway, Starbucks, Caruso Produce, local area restaurants, and private individuals.

We are a private faith based non-profit and we accept no assistance from any federal or state agencies. With the cold weather upon us, we are in great need of any used clothing, shoes, jackets, and other warm clothes items. On an ongoing basis, we could always use toiletry items, backpacks/carry bags, reading glasses, silverware, or paper products. We appreciate any and all donations!”

Brian Ferschwiller
Blanchet House Executive Director
340 NW Glisan Street
Portland, OR

December 2003 at Blanchet House - Note the bags of donations Steve and Julie helping in the kitchen

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