Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Jon Bernthal for the excellent Sicario, currently in limited release and expanding this week. We spoke of the honor he feels to play Punisher in the second season of Marvel's Daredevil series on Netflix, and his philosophy of violence that ties all his characters together.
But then we moved away from discussion of his intense and violent characters to something he's doing in his personal life, which is his involvement with Drops Fill Buckets, the nonprofit that his brother, Nick Bernthal, started with one of their friends, Gareth Schweitzer.
Bernthal lit up when I asked him about the organization, and he was eager to heap praise upon his younger brother for his philanthropic venture:
So, Drops Fill Buckets, my little brother is a cancer surgeon in Los Angeles. He does orthopedic oncology and he’s traveled all over the world, you know to hospitals in India, and all over - he’s just a better man than I am and it’s one of the honors of my life to be related to him. One of the things that he and one of my best friends started, I work with them on their nonprofit, Drops Fill Bucket.
I asked him to explain what the charity was all about - after all, there are a lot of celebrities involved in a lot of charities out there, and it's not always easy to see who is truly doing it for altruistic reasons and who is doing it for a nice photo op. But of course, with it being a family venture, Bernthal's earnest enthusiasm came through in every word.
Basically, the idea is that there are so many people out there, so many young professionals, who really want to do good, and they really want to donate money to charity, but they don’t really know what they want to do. And they don’t really know where the money is going and you don’t really know where your time is going, and so it can be really hard to see exactly what you have.
So what we do, for a section of time, a member of Drops Fill Bucket in a particular community can pick a subject or a cause where there’s one thing that if you donate X amount of money, the problem will be changed. And then we get all the people together and we throw parties and fundraisers in that city, and we handle that specific problem.
He gave examples of some of the local problems they've attacked directly, and it was an eye-opening look at some of the small, but vital challenges that people all over the world face every day.
Whether it’s shutting down dog-fighting kennels to buying an ambulance for a hospital in an area where 80% of the women were dying while they were going into labor because they had to walk to the hospital, the point is there are many different things that we can do. We just pick them one at a time, but the only determining factor is that it’s got to be a one-time cash donation that will solve the problem basically forever.
And that’s the idea. So you can see that the good you’re doing is not an abstract thing, it’s much more concrete and so we can engage young people who have been wanting to help but have no idea how. It’s just focused and has a direction.
What a fantastic idea, no? As someone who has gotten overwhelmed when trying to decide what charity to become involved with, even with knowing the causes I wanted to support, I can appreciate a practical, hands-on nonprofit like this.
Humble as he is, Bernthal made sure to gave his brother the credit to the last:
It’s really my brother’s baby and I’m very much glad to be a part of it at all.
It's so lovely to see good people doing good things out there in the world, celebrity or otherwise. Are any of you involved with charity work or a nonprofit organization? Tell me about it in the comments!
For information on how you can become involved with Drops Fill Buckets or how to start a chapter in your own town, you can head right to the Drops Fill Buckets website.