OHIO VALLEY — Whether you lack a little something or have extra to give, a new project can help meet your needs.
The “Blessing Box” is the brainchild of Hannah Parsons and Heidi Creamer. Located outside of The Meeting House at 2423 Jackson Avenue, Point Pleasant, W.Va., the box contains non-perishable food and personal hygiene items free for anyone needing them.
The Meeting House is also known for meeting needs in the recovery community, hosting several weekly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, as well as offering other recovery services to area residents.
The Blessing Box will be available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week for anyone needing a little extra to help them get by, or for anyone wanting to add to the box, according to Parsons. She said the anonymity of the project will take away what some view as an embarrassing situation.
“There are people who can’t ask, who are embarrassed to ask,” she said. “There’s no shame in needing help. At this box, no one knows if you are there to donate or take. There’s no shame, no questions, just be blessed.”
The two women also had the homeless and children in mind when considering the project’s purpose.
“We actually have quite a few people who are homeless,” Creamer said. “And, it also allows children to grab something to eat when they’re walking home from school, in which they may not have a meal other than what they eat at school.”
Parsons and Creamer said they are depending on the community to help keep the box filled. Parsons said those who operate The Meeting House will check the dates on the food and make sure it is rotated and fresh. Donations can be canned, boxed, or individually wrapped food; personal hygiene items like deodorant, toothpaste or shampoo; and even during winter months, hats, scarves and gloves.
The cabinet itself was donated by David Rodgers, according to Parsons. Rob Edwards and Parsons’ father, Emil Hoffman, helped the women sand, modify, paint and install it.
“We just want everyone in the area to know it is open to anyone at any hour,” Parsons said. “To donate to, or to take from.”
A similar Blessing Box was also recently placed in Racine by the Carmel-Sutton United Methodist Church Friendship Circle. The box is located next to AB&T Auto and Floral on South Third Street in Racine.
Some of the main items that have been popular in the box have been household items and winter items have also been added. The soap and fabric softener were some of the first items to go. For the winter months, the group is looking into what items can be in the box which will not be impacted by the cold weather. Information sheets are also being placed in the box to direct individuals on who and where to contact if they need additional help.
(Editor’s Note: Sarah Hawley contributed to this article.)
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.