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Blessing Box provides for those in need

By NANCY PEYTON

The Logan Banner

LOGAN, W.Va.  — Blessing Boxes have begun appearing all over the country.

The small pantries include items ranging from food to personal hygiene products.

Blessing Boxes became popular on social media following the boom of Little Free Libraries.
(Logan Banner photo)

These boxes are often installed on busy streets where items can be both put in and collected by members of the community at any time. A Blessing Box has now made its way to the city of Logan.

The box is located next to the Lion Club’s Little Free Library on Stratton Street at the First Presbyterian Church of Logan.

Susan Perry, a member of both the First Presbyterian Church of Logan and the Logan Lion’s Club, said she was approached with the idea from the church’s interim pastor after he saw the success of the Little Free Library over the last two years.

“The Lion’s Club put up the Little Free Library, and when we did everybody said, ‘that’s a really great idea, but you know that’s not going to work,'” Perry said. “‘You know that people are going to take everything, and they’re going to tear it up.’ But I said let’s just give it a try.”

Perry said the doubts others had were proven wrong and that the library has been a success. She said when the church saw a system like this could work in the area they believed a Blessing Box could work as well.

The boxes provide both convenience and anonymity that cannot usually be achieved with typical food pantries. The box can also provide assistance to those who may be in a rough spot late at night when most stores are closed.

Perry said the church was actually broken into once by someone who only took food from the property and left behind the empty containers. She said no one should have to commit a crime simply because they are hungry.

“Our church was broken into once, and one of the things that we realized, because they left the container, was that the people who broke in were hungry,” Perry said. “We don’t want people to have to break into our church to get food. We want people to be able to access food whenever they need it, wherever they need it.”

Blessing Boxes became popular on social media following the boom of Little Free Libraries. The “libraries” provide communities an opportunity to swap books in a box installed outdoors, with visitors taking a book and leaving one behind for others to enjoy.

Blessing Boxes operate under a similar concept. Perry said anyone is welcome to leave items in the box at any time, or they can leave donations of money or items with volunteer staff at the church throughout the week.

Items accepted for the box include nonperishable food items, snacks, toiletries, baby diapers and other small items. Perry said that while the box has only been open for a week, they’ve seen a greater need for toiletries than food items.

“A lot of people are having trouble making ends meet and toiletries are not covered by food stamps or other types of food assistance,” Perry said.

The First Presbyterian Church of Logan also has a regular food pantry on site for those in need.

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