No one knows who came up with the idea of blessing boxes and really, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the concept is taking root and spreading all over the country, in towns big and small. Blessing boxes are another way of performing random acts of kindness, paying it forward, whatever you choose to call it—and it’s a way to help others when they need it most.
The idea got national attention recently on the “Inspiring America” segment of NBC’s Nightly News. Fox 8 News also did a segment on the initiative in the Mt. Airy/Dobson area. It’s nice to see some good news get attention and motivate others.
A Blessing Box is a simple concept. That’s the beauty of it. You can build a box with a door on a pedestal, use a plastic storage container, or as the name implies, just use a box. Fill the container with non-perishable foods and basic personal hygiene products. Boxes are placed randomly at spots where folks gather or areas where there’s likely to be a need. Some boxes may have labels to indicate what the idea is, such as “Take a blessing when you need one, leave a blessing when you can.” Once it’s set up, anyone can replenish the box or replace what they needed at a particular time in their life.
What are some things that might be included in a blessing box? Use ideas for things that you’d take to a food bank/pantry. Remember, for canned goods to get the type that have the pull-tab to open. For example:
- Canned tuna or chicken
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Canned Vegetables
- Bottled Water
- Baby Food
- Dry Shampoo
If it’s cold, perhaps add scarves, caps, and gloves.
According to people who’ve set up blessing boxes near their homes, there’s a fairly steady flow of usage and replenishment. Some replenish what they needed, some leave money, and some leave thank-you notes.
At times, all we need is to see an idea in action for it to become something we want to embrace. Blessing boxes seem to have that kind of impact. While food banks and soup kitchens do great work, they don’t reach everyone. The anonymous nature of just walking up to a blessing box and getting what you need with no fanfare or interaction is easier for some to handle.
There are a number of websites (including a Facebook page) about the blessing box concept and places where people benefit from using them. Some organizations have boxes set up in large metropolitan areas, some have them in their front yards, and others place them near high-traffic areas. If it is not set up on personal property, checking with the city regarding placement would be a good idea.
Lending a helping hand. We all need one (actually many) in our lifetimes. We don’t really need any attention to do a good deed for someone. Reaching out just for the sake of helping is enough to put a warm glow in your heart. Blessing boxes are a good way to get that feeling and help someone at the time they need it.
Practice Acts of Kindness!