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home : opinion : opinion March 28, 2023

11/29/2022 9:41:00 AM
Guest Column
Be Someone's Blessing; Stock That Box

Tammy Wilson
Guest Columnist

Chances are you’ve seen Blessing Boxes, those cabinets on legs in church parking lots.

A Blessing Box is a “Little Free Pantry” that provides nonperishable food (like cereal, canned soup, Beenie Weenies) as well as hygiene items (like soap, deodorant and toothpaste) for people in need.

Last summer I noticed a Blessing Box near my son’s home in Hickory, and seeing how pitifully empty it looked, I took it upon myself to drop off a few items. By the next day, the goods were already gone. That’s no surprise, considering how folks are struggling with rising costs of fuel, food, rent and medicine.

Blessing Boxes have been around for years, but here lately, they’ve become more and more of a blessing.

They aren’t meant to diminish or replace the ministry of soup kitchens and food pantries. Still, the Boxes fill a niche. Unlike food pantries, Blessing Boxes are open 24 hours a day, every day. They don’t close down for holidays or inclement weather. So long as there are supplies in the box, they’re in business.

The only rules is “Take what you need; leave what you can.” It’s strictly an honor system. It’s nonjudgmental. Nobody minds the store. Nobody interviews the donors or the recipients. And it’s anonymous—a real plus for those who are too proud to ask for help.

I suppose I could play the “what if” game. What if the recipients aren’t truly needy? What if the food is wasted? What if kids steal the food on a dare?

I prefer not to go down that path. The way I see it, if someone abuses another’s generosity, then shame on them.

Over time, I’ve been happy to oblige that little blue box in the Lutheran parking lot. It doesn’t ask questions and require me to create a password or fill out a questionnaire. The few minutes it takes to restock it can make a huge difference to a homeless veteran or a hungry family or a senior squeezed for cash at the end of the month.

For most of us, it’s no big deal to drop off a few groceries. Items we glean from our own pantry won’t be missed, and purchasing a few extra supplies won’t break the bank.

Blessing Boxes make it easy to play Santa any day of the year.

Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives near Newton. Her latest book is Going Plaid in a Solid Gray World: Collected Columns, available through Dec. 24 at the Dewey’s Holiday Shop at the Corner Table soup kitchen in downtown Newton. Part of the book proceeds will benefit The Corner Table. Contact Wilson at [email protected]

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