Blanchet House is able to offer nutritious hot meals to anyone who comes to our doors thanks to 70 years of efforts by incredible mothers. Women who volunteered in a communal effort to alleviate suffering.
My Mom: “I Strive to Be as Giving as Her”
Hannah Cooper is a senior at Central Catholic High School and a Blanchet House Student Ambassador. She frequently volunteers in the community with her mom Traci Hambly.
“My mom taught me to always help out those around you because one day you may need their help as well,” Hannah says about her mom. “She also taught me to be kind and lend a helping hand to anyone because you don’t know a person’s background or struggles, so always be willing to help those around you.”
Hannah and her mom have been volunteering together since she was 7-years-old. She likes serving alongside her mom because it’s a way for them to bond and become closer.
“Whenever we volunteer together she always adds a bit of spice to the activity and no matter what service we do, it’s a blast with her around,” Hannah says. “My mom helps out everybody around her daily. She is very much a giver, so every day I see her do small acts of kindness, like the other day she helped an older lady put her groceries in her car. She does so much for those around her, strangers and non-strangers, and I strive to be as giving and as helpful as her.”
Dorothy Day: Mother of a Movement
Houses of Hospitality like Blanchet House were hatched by Dorothy Day, a woman and mother of radical compassion. She co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933 to tackle issues of social justice and poverty. One of her guiding principles was to show hospitality towards people on the margins of society by offering food, clothing, friendship, and shelter. Day inspired the young founders of Blanchet House to open Portland’s own House of Hospitality as a beacon of compassion and hope.
Caring for Family, Caring for Strangers
Mary Grace McDermott: A Lifetime of Service
(RIP 1931-2020) One of the many uncelebrated women in Blanchet House’s history is Mary Grace McDermott. From Machu Picchu to under the Burnside Bridge, Mary Grace spent her life caring for the outcasts, the poor, and the suffering with humor and love. Read her inspiring interview.