Harrison Township resident Gordon  Farhat stands with the Blessing Box on Crocker Boulevard, near 16 Mile Road, where those in need can pick up useful items donated by the community.

Harrison Township resident Gordon Farhat stands with the Blessing Box on Crocker Boulevard, near 16 Mile Road, where those in need can pick up useful items donated by the community.

Photo by Julie Snyder

Local man extends charitable efforts into Harrison Township

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 23, 2019


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Gordon Farhat admits that he’s a tad outspoken. And maybe a bit eccentric. He also won’t deny that he becomes unapologetically focused when it comes to something he’s passionate about.

Which explains why for the past several months Farhat has had tunnel vision on getting a Blessing Box initiative up and running in the place he calls home.

“I enjoy helping people get their problems taken care of,” said Farhat, who has lived in Harrison Township for 17 years. “Many services offered to people who may be low income or down on their luck, like food cards (Bridge), don’t pay for things like hygiene products or baby needs. That’s what a Blessing Box does.”

Farhat took to social media for help in getting the ball rolling. After posting the idea on several community-based pages on Facebook, he met someone willing to donate his skills and build a Blessing Box.

“This was just someone I met on Facebook,” Farhat said. “And he built it for me. The kindness has been amazing.”

After approaching several businesses as well as the township requesting places to erect the Blessing Box — and eventually failing to get a go-ahead — word began to spread even further. 

Sue Hentschel, owner of Posh Paws pet salon, 25585 Crocker Blvd., said she was watching a recent Board of Trustees meeting that Farhat had attended. She said she was motivated to help after Farhat was denied approval to place the Blessing Box outside the Harrison Township Public Library. 

Social media came into play again, and Hentschel was able to contact Farhat through Facebook.

“I told him I have vacant land next to my salon and that he was welcome to place his Blessing Box there,” she said. “It costs nothing to be a charitable person.”

The colorful Blessing Box, which was painted by members of the L’Anse Creuse Middle School-Central band, has been operational on the east side of Crocker Boulevard, near 16 Mile Road, since early April.

Hentschel said the contributions have been pouring in — so much so that she’s storing a lot of the donations at her salon, where people in need can request items during regular business hours. She also fills the box with some of those donated items when inventory gets low. 

People can pick up what they need or drop off donations into the Blessing Box 24 hours a day.

“People are donating toiletries, canned goods, diapers and socks. Things that are important,” Hentschel said. “The people who need these items, many of them are homeless and they’re embarrassed about asking for help. They don’t want their problems known.”

Farhat has been helping the homeless “my entire life.”

Since retiring three years ago after running a car dealership for 24 years, Farhat, who has survived three strokes, began focusing his time on helping the community do the same.

In addition to making care packages that he routinely hands out to homeless around Detroit, Farhat also helps Auntie Na’s House, a nonprofit organization in Detroit that offers enrichment programs as well as food and medical services to women and youth in the community. 

Farhat said two additional Blessing Box sites are in the works:  a second in Harrison Township and one in Mount Clemens.

“I have a lot of time on my hands since I retired,” said Farhat, 55. “My dad always told me to treat everybody the same. I treat every person I meet the way I would want to be treated.”

Call Staff Writer Julie Snyder at (586) 498-1039.