by Daria Purdy ’19
Assistant News Editor
Providence College students who volunteer their time with the Christian charity organization, My Brother’s Keeper, are able to live out their religious values of serving the community. The organization, which delivers furniture free of charge to families in need, is opening a brand new facility in Dartmouth, Massachusetts this Sunday, October 8.
My Brother’s Keeper was founded in 1988 by a husband and wife who wished to help local families in need. The charity has two bases in Massachusetts, in Dartmouth and Easton, through which 11 staff members and over 3,000 volunteers bring furniture to families in need.
Any family living in the service area of Southeast Massachusetts is eligible to receive help from the non-profit organization.
The organization conducts 8,500 deliveries per year. The volunteers do the physical labor of bringing and installing the furniture to the homes. PC students volunteer their time with the organization Monday through Friday.
Josh Smith, one of the staff of My Brother’s Keeper, says, “First and foremost we are a Christian mission. We try to bring the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those we serve.” He goes on to say, “The furniture acts as a tool in that, it allows us to enter the hearts and prayers of those in need.”
Smith describes how, along with the furniture, the group delivers a crucifix to each family that they serve. In this way, the Christian inspiration and purpose of the organization is emphasized with each act of charity.
Smith describes how he started with My Brother’s Keeper as a student volunteer, at Stonehill College 10 years ago. Smith describes the experience of the student volunteers as “one that changes your world-view in a lot of ways,” and also “allows you to see service as a privilege.”
Meghan O’Connor ’18, a student volunteer at the organization, said, “The experience has improved my overall ability to relate to people, and to not judge a book by its cover.”
O’Connor has been volunteering with the organization since her sophomore year, and was able to be a summer intern with the non-profit through a PC grant. She said that she relishes the opportunities she gets to leave the PC campus and connect with a wide range of people through her work.
Smith emphasized the central role that PC students have played in the expansion of the organization. Smith says that PC has been My Brother’s Keeper best college partner, through student volunteers and donation of dorm furniture to the organization. Smith says, “Our mission, to serve God by serving community, has resonated on campus.”
The new facility that is opening Sunday in Dartmouth will be 23,000 square feet, which is two and half times larger than the previous facility in Dartmouth. The larger size is meant to accommodate the growing number of volunteers. The new facility will also have a larger prayer room and kitchen.
The ceremony to open the new facility this Sunday will begin at 2:30 p.m., with a mass beginning at 3:30 p.m. The Bishop of the Diocese will be in attendance. Smith emphasized that all are welcome to attend the ceremony and mass. Students are also welcome to join in the strong PC tradition of volunteering their time to serve the community through My Brother’s Keeper.