Newly-built My Brother’s Keeper facility blessed and dedicated


By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff
kensouza@anchornews.org

DARTMOUTH, Mass. — Hundreds of people joined Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., in celebrating the dedication and blessing of the newly-built My Brother’s Keeper facility during a Mass on Sunday, October 8.

Located at 1015 Reed Road in Dartmouth, just steps from the building the ministry had been leasing since opening its second location in the fall of 2013, the 18,200-square-foot pre-engineered metal building will virtually double the organization’s storage capacity, will increase its total deliveries by more than 200 percent, and will allow them to accommodate new programs like a food delivery service.

“This building is not an end itself, but only a means to accomplish our mission and to shine our light brighter for Christ,” said Erich Miller, president of My Brother’s Keeper, during the Liturgy. “Its purpose is to help us serve local families in need in Christ’s name and to nurture each other’s faith as we serve together along the way.”

Sitting on a 22-acre parcel of land that was purchased in November 2015, the sprawling facility is modeled after the ministry’s Easton counterpart and mirrors that building’s look, layout and design — right down to the red brick façade and the iconic statue out front known as “The Divine Servant.” This telling depiction of Christ washing Peter’s feet at the Last Supper is symbolic of the ministry’s mission as inspired by Christ’s words in Matthew 5:15, “To bring the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those we serve.” 

Founded nearly 30 years ago by Jim and Terry Orcutt, who modestly began the charitable work of delivering furniture, free-of-charge, to local families in need from the cellar of their Taunton home back in 1988, My Brother’s Keeper eventually expanded to a facility located adjacent to Stonehill College and Holy Cross Family Ministries in Easton.

Although it doesn’t attempt to evangelize and there are no religious requirements to participate, with each furniture delivery My Brother’s Keeper offers a crucifix with the message: “We’re just the delivery people; this is the Man Who sent you the furniture.” Families receiving help are free to accept or decline the cross and anyone living in the service area is eligible to receive help, regardless of religious beliefs.

“We gift those whom we serve a crucifix as a sign that out of love, Christ sacrificed His life for us,” said Jim Orcutt. “Our volunteers serve the poor with kindness and compassion as a sign that Christ is alive in His people.”

Orcutt thanked Bishop da Cunha for coming to bless “our new home and the work we perform in the name of Jesus.”

“In the years to come, thousands of people will go forth from this building to serve God’s people in the name of Jesus Christ,” Orcutt said. “May this Mass that we celebrate together, inspire each of us to continue to live out our faith by serving those in need for the greater glory of God.”

During his homily, Bishop da Cunha praised the good work of My Brother’s Keeper and said the ministry epitomizes Christ’s call to “treat each other with kindness and to love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Whatever you do for the least of My brothers, you do it for Me,” the bishop said. “Isn’t that what Jesus asks of us? And isn’t that what My Brother’s Keeper does? But to do it with joy, with love, with generosity and faith, knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of other people. If you love God, you have to show it by loving one another. You can’t love God if you don’t love your neighbor.”

Bishop da Cunha said he was honored to preside over the Mass, dedication and blessing of the new facility and that the work being done here will not only impact the lives of those being served, but the ministry’s many servants as well.

“What you do makes a difference in the lives of so many people, but it’s probably making a difference in your life as well,” the bishop said. “Many of you have probably never stood here at a podium and preached to a large crowd, but, you know what? With your good deeds you have preached. You may have brought others to Jesus by your good deeds; and good deeds speak louder than words. So keep up the good deeds in the name of Christ — bringing His presence and love to those you meet along your way.”

For Miller, the fact that this project progressed so quickly — from site acquisition, to design and engineering, to permitting and financing, to fund-raising and construction — all in less than two years just proves “the power of a Christian community in action.”

“I’ve been told by people in the construction industry that doing so much in such a short period of time would be an incredible accomplishment for a professional developer, much less a non-profit,” he said. “But thankfully we had thousands of people like yourselves, who believe deeply in our mission: to bring the love and hope of Jesus Christ to those we serve. Each person was willing to help in his or her own special way.”

According to Josh Smith, director of the Dartmouth site, since opening the second location the ministry has grown by leaps and bounds and now makes about 800 furniture deliveries a year.

“This new building is going to allow us to do so much more,” he said. “There is a lot of need in this community and this facility will give us the ability to not only serve more people, but also serve them better in Christ’s name. It’s a very exciting day.”

And while the new Dartmouth facility will continue the ministry’s charitable outreach in providing furniture, food and Christmas assistance to families in need in the greater Fall River and New Bedford areas, Miller said there’s more work planned in the coming months.

“It’s important for us to be good stewards of this land that God has blessed us with, and so we will build a Rosary walk through the wooded portion of the property, so people from all over the region can prayerfully enjoy it,” he said. “It’s good for us to take this time today to celebrate this wonderful milestone, but let’s not forget the most important point: now is when the real work begins.”

Miller expressed gratitude for the many volunteers and supporters who have embraced My Brother’s Keeper and its mission and said it is “our great privilege to be (Christ’s) heart and hands in the world today — to bring help and hope to our more humble brothers and sisters.”

“God will touch countless lives in the coming years through this building and, most especially, through this very, very special community,” Miller said. “Before you came here today, if anyone was unsure of our commitment to families in need on the Southcoast, this building speaks loud and clear that we are all in. My Brother’s Keeper is invested in this community for the long run. And I hope we can count on every one of you to be with us for the long run, too.”

Bishop da Cunha echoed Miller’s sentiments, saying he is grateful for the charitable work of My Brother’s Keeper and its many volunteers.

“What a beautiful testimony to their faith and the generosity of so many people, who want to reach out and share their gifts and their resources and their blessings with others,” he said. “What a blessing it is to be able to do that and to find joy in it. The more we give, the more we receive.”

To donate, volunteer or learn more about My Brother’s Keeper, visit www.MyBrothersKeeper.org or call 774-305-4577.


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