We are blessed to live in a Tropical Paradise. This summer, it was 92 degrees with 100% humidity and when it is hot and steamy, the very last thing on your mind is a blanket! This, however, is one of the first things on the mind of Father Jean W. Boulin. You see, Father Jean is on a mission, literally.

As of May 2020, there were 1,510 homeless persons and families in Palm Beach County, an 8% increase from just one year ago, according to figures from the Palm Beach Post. The homeless are all around us. You just have to see them, and that is exactly what Fr. Jean Boulon, of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Jupiter is doing.

“I began seeing people in need when I was in the Seminary in Miami” Fr. Jean said. As part of his “Priestly Mission” he went to soup kitchens, hospitals, and assisted living/retirement facilities. That was where he noticed how much a simple blanket made a difference. “Even though it’s Florida” said Fr. Jean “if you pay attention to people you will see the signs showing that the people are cold.”

You don’t have to go to a soup kitchen, or homeless camp to help. Fr. Jean told me about a time he came across a young couple as he was going into a grocery store on Indiantown Road. He said that they were standing outside and the young woman was wringing her hands. A sign he has picked up on that shows when people are cold. Fr. Jean introduced himself and asked them if they wanted a blanket. They accepted, and Fr. Jean pulled out two blankets from his supply in the trunk of his car and brought them back to the couple. Fr. Jean likes to give out two blankets because one can be put on the ground for warmth or for cushion and the other can be used to cover the body and stay warm.

With or without his priestly collar on, Fr. Jean relies on establishing trust first with the people he wants to help. Then they realize there is no agenda, and it removes their hesitation to accept help.

The couple reacted when he handed them two blankets by saying, “Are you kidding me?” They were so thankful for this simple act of kindness. Fr Jean said that it can be mentally hard to be cold, but the blanket is such a simple fix that most people become emotional about receiving it.

With or without his priestly collar on, Fr. Jean relies on establishing trust first with the people he wants to help. Then they realize there is no agenda, and it removes their hesitation to accept help.

I asked Fr. Jean if he felt that he was guided by the Holy Spirit for this mission, and he replied, “Not really.”

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will pay back that which he has given. Proverbs 19:17

He explained that it’s part of our Catholic social teaching about human dignity. Human dignity is understanding that all people are created in the image of God, and we are all God’s Children. Therefore we need to help one another.

Now that we are closing in on November, the nights will start to get chilly. “It’s Blanket Time” is what Fr. Jean will say before starting his homily, when his supplies get low and the blanket donations will start to pour in.

Fr. Jean has donated 60-70 blankets to El Sol, and sent blankets to Pahokee and Belle Glade in addition to his mission to hand out one blanket at a time to those in need.

Check your closets, and if you have an extra blanket to donate, you can contact Fr. Jean at St. Peter Catholic Church 561-575-0837.

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