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Scott Kerman Volunteering_Blanchet House

By Scott Kerman

“How do you do it?”

That’s what I asked a volunteer who comes again and again in the morning to serve breakfast despite her very busy personal and professional life.

She responded, “It fills my cup.”

“That’s perfect,” I replied.

Blanchet House fills our cups.

It’s why hundreds of volunteers make time in their lives for Blanchet House, why students sacrifice extra sleep to be here for breakfast service, and why teams from local businesses come here in force to serve meals or organize clothes.

It fills their cups.

It is why volunteers take it upon themselves to collect clothing, blankets, and shoes from their friends and neighbors so that we have these items to give to people in dire need.

It is why supporters seek grants from their companies on our behalf because they appreciate how valuable the funding is to carrying out our mission.

It is why after a brief discussion about starting a beekeeping program at Blanchet Farm, a volunteer with beekeeping expertise met me at the farm to begin plotting out where the hives will go in March 2020.

It is why so many, many volunteers have made service at Blanchet House a lifelong ritual and commitment.

This service, these moments of connection with people in need and of fellowship with others in this service, fills our cups.

This service, these moments of connection with people in need and of fellowship with others in this service, fills our cups.

And don’t our cups need filling these days? We are all too aware of the great need in our community among our housing and food insecure neighbors. We’re aware of their hardships and suffering. The need can feel overwhelming.

We understand the individual and collective need to “do something.” But from where does the motivation, inspiration and even perseverance to act on this awareness come time after time?

For me, it comes from something I didn’t even know was there—a cup that needs filling. After the first time I served a meal, on my first day working at Blanchet House, my cup began to fill.

The empty cup that I had been carrying all along calls to be refilled. So, I return each morning and many evenings to the Founders Cafe to serve meals not because it is my job but because each day I seek to fill that cup. Yes, I enjoy these opportunities. But I also thirst for it, as well as the comraderie I find with our residents, volunteers, and the people we feed and clothe.

Yes, it all fills my cup.

And that is enough.

Scott Kerman is the Executive Director of Blanchet House. You can contact him at or 503-241-4340 x 102.

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