My Brother’s Keeper was founded simply and humbly, in prayer, by a husband and wife in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1988.
Before My Brother’s Keeper, our founders Jim and Terry Orcutt lived ordinary lives. Two experiences changed them forever. The first was Cursillo, a Christian renewal retreat run by the Holy Cross fathers which rekindled their faith and gave them a desire to serve others in God’s name.
Then on March 21, 1988, Jim and Terry sat down to watch TV. Flipping channels, they settled on the Sunday night movie, God Bless the Child, a powerful film portraying a mother and daughter’s desperate struggle with homelessness. The Orcutts were profoundly affected by the pain and hopelessness they witnessed — they knew God was calling them to act.
After having the most serious conversation of their married life, Jim and Terry held hands before a cross and said a prayer: “God, we want to bring your love and hope to people who are feeling lost and hopeless, but we don’t know what to do. If you’ll guide us, there will never be another day when this won’t be first.”
And so My Brother’s Keeper was born.
The next day, Jim and Terry began collecting clothes and linens for families in need. While visiting area shelters, they quickly learned a critical need existed for furniture — no local charity provided essential household items for people relocating from shelters.
Jim and Terry borrowed a set of roof racks for their old Chevy Cavalier. On a ‘shoestring’ budget, they began serving families from the basement of their home. To help pay for the extra gas, family and friends collected soda cans and bottles, the very first fundraising effort for My Brother’s Keeper.
People felt moved to join them and the community of My Brother’s Keeper grew. Jim, Terry, and our early volunteers also worked from a barn and a storage locker facility before renting the ministry’s first permanent home in Brockton in 1992, purchasing a warehouse in 1995, and building a new facility in Easton in 2002.
In 2013, My Brother’s Keeper opened a second location in Dartmouth, MA to bring our mission to families in need on the South Coast. We built a new facility there in 2017.