By: Paul E. Kandarian
BRIDGEWATER – Peter Kelleher helps the homeless by handing out soup and backpacks full of essentials. He sees it not so much as a cause as it is his reason for being. “It’s my dream, my purpose,” Kelleher said on a recent day at his home, where several friendly dogs milled about, some his own, most part of his dog-sitting business. “I won the lottery without money.”
Since last Thanksgiving, Kelleher, 56, has been cooking up huge pots of soup every Saturday – sandwiches will replace soup when it gets warmer – and driving them in his pickup truck all over Brockton, Quincy, and beyond to nourish homeless people. Over the winter, he also handed out backpacks stuffed with clothing like socks, hats, and gloves, all donated.
“Whatever the homeless did to become homeless,” he said, “doesn’t mean they deserve to be cold.”
He says he was driven to this weekly act of kindness by the crushing sadness he experienced: His son Travis, 32, was homeless when he died of a drug overdose in Maine in 2016.
“I tried, he tried,” Kelleher said of the back-and-forth struggle between parent and child familiar to anyone who has lived it. “I knew I was going to get that call, and I did. My life will never be the same, but I’m the same as everyone else who’s had to deal with this.”