PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The holidays can be a lonely time for people living on the margins of Portland, but it’s also a time when they can be reminded about warmth and compassion of people who want to help.

Blanchet House Executive Director Scott Kerman joined AM Extra to talk about the non-profit serving meals to those in need.

Amid the holiday season, Kerman pointed out this could be a tough time for those Blanchet House serves.

“For many of the people we serve, whether it’s our meal guests or folks in our transitional housing program, thy could have…negative associations with the holidays so we try to accentuate the positive and make this a joyful time, a time of community,” Kerman said. “Folks are really struggling on the street right now, So, anything we can do to lift them up a little bit is going to be our object this month.”

Kerman pointed out the non-profit serves “a lot of people who are unsheltered in the Old Town District” in addition to those living in low-income housing or other shelters in the area.

“We serve a lot of people who are elderly, physically disabled and so they may not be able to cook a hot meal for themselves. So, they come to Blanchet Hose not only for a free, delicious meal, but also the chance to eat a meal in community,” Kerman said. “We try to make it feel like a restaurant for folks and what they tell us is that eating at Blanchet House makes them feel normal again.”

This sense of community can be beneficial as the organization also offers peer support specialists during the meals.

“These are individuals with lived experience with homelessness and often addiction and recovery…they have been where some of our meal guests are at, so they can really communicate at an authentic level with our meals guests and talk to them about their challenges,” Kerman said.

Those interested in supporting Blanchet House can volunteer on-site, or donate food, clothing or money.