An Ounce of Prevention

The first Blessing Box installed in Pocahontas County is located at the Dunmore United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of Judy Fuller

Blessing Box project

Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition Inc., in partnership with Pocahontas County Free Libraries and Visitor Centers, is planning a community project that, for right now, we are calling the “Blessing Box” project.

What is a “Blessing Box? – This Box is simply a weather proof box or cabinet, with two shelves, that measures about 42 by 28 inches and is often raised on a platform to a height of about 6 feet. The top shelf holds non-perishable food items such as rice, canned goods, bottled water and snacks, and the bottom shelf holds hygiene products such as toothpaste, soap, Kleenex, shampoo, Q-tips and toilet tissue.

There are hundreds of these boxes placed in communities throughout the country. It is believed that such projects came about because a woman named Jessica McClard, of Fayetteville, Arizona, was jogging past a Little Free Library Box and got the idea to do the same to help people who have food insecurities.

That’s exactly what the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition, in cooperation with Pocahontas County Free Libraries and Visitor Centers, plans to do in Pocahontas County.

We want to place five of these boxes in the county – one at each library location. This will be a good way to reach several neighborhoods, as every community has a library – Durbin, Green Bank, Hillsboro, Linwood and Marlinton.

Of note, the first Blessing Box in Pocahontas County was installed at the Dunmore Methodist Church.

The boxes are not meant to supply every need, but are, instead, to be a resource to be used when things get tight and a little extra help is needed. Signage will be placed on the box that says “Take what you need, and leave what you can.”

Anyone can take items or leave appropriate items based on their situation.

But – to help keep the boxes stocked, we are asking for your help.

The Coalition will purchase the materials needed to install the boxes for each location. We truly want this to be a Community Project and ask you to consider sponsoring a box in your area.

We need a carpenter or two to install the boxes and sponsors for supplies for the boxes.

You may agree to sponsor for a month, a few months or the entire year. If several people or groups from each area agree to keep an eye on the box in their area to keep it stocked, the task will be easy – not to mention very rewarding to know that a simple act of kindness can mean so much to someone in need.

We invite you to help install the boxes and/or to sponsor a box. If you have some ideas about how to partner with others in your area, please let us know.

We need to have a sustainability plan in place before we can move forward. Also, let us know your ideas for names for the box. We want to call it something other than Blessing Box to make it our own project.

To get involved with this project, contact one of the following:

Cheryl Jonese pocahontasprevention@gmail.com

Jean Srodes jsrodes@gmail.com

Pat Browning dr470pat@yahoo.co.nz

Faith Johnson faith@pocahontaslibrary.org

Cree Lahti cree@pocahontaslibrary.org

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