What is a Blessing Box?
The concept is simple. The Blessing Box is a miniature food pantry on the northwest corner of our parking lot. It is for receiving items from those who want to donate, and offering to those who need them. Whether you're taking or giving, you can just do to the Blessing Box. There is no lock on it- it's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why do we do this Blessing Box?
Jesus calls us to minister to those in need. In Matthew 25 Jesus says:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Who is the Blessing Box for?
The Blessing Box is for neighbors helping neighbors. In high poverty areas, the Blessing Box is most often for those who are not easily able to meet everyday food and personal needs. In middle class neighborhoods, the Blessing Box might stock after-school snacks for neighborhood kids or that "cup of sugar" you never have when you need it. (In my case it's an onion.) In all places, the Blessing Box is for those who want and/or need to give.
How does this Blessing Box differ from other food pantries?
- The Blessing Box is small, so it cannot stock the quantity and variety other food pantries can. For this reason, it should not be relied on for meeting every need.
- Many food pantries require application before use and have set hours of operation. Anyone may access the Blessing Box at any time.
- Food pantries operate as service providers, those who use them as clients. The Blessing Box gets rid of that boundary. Whether stocking or taking items, everyone approaches the Blessing Box the same way, hopefully removing the shame that accompanies need.
- Food pantries are critical in addressing food insecurity. But some fall through the cracks. The Blessing Box is a safety net.
How do I help stock the Blessing Box?
The Blessing Box is stocked organically. Those who wish to contribute may do so whenever it is convenient for them. Demand outpaces supply, so the Blessing Box is often empty. However, empty shelves are problematic only if no one is contributing. Please note that irregular supply is an effective control keeping both consumption and traffic manageable. Irregular supply minimizes loitering as well.
Overall the Blessing Box is a way to Bless your neighbors, it is not a food pantry replacement.