“Take what you need, give what you can”: Blessing boxes fill need in the area
Published 11:18 am Thursday, September 1, 2022
You may have noticed small, house-like structures on stands that have been placed in numerous church parking lots and other locations in the community. Referred to as blessing boxes, these sites provide an easy way to help people who might not have access to larger food pantries or other types of assistance.
These ‘little pantries’ give people in need the opportunity to receive non-perishable food items, such as canned goods, cereal, and peanut butter. Other items freely given and received in blessing boxes include diapers, hygiene products like toothbrushes and toothpaste, and even books. Blessing boxes occupy what some have termed no obligation zones, meaning take what you need and leave what you can.
The trend seems to have emerged in the mid-2010s. The boxes have created a simple way to fill the void for some families and people in need, and an excellent way for those in the community to receive and give aid with little fuss.
One of the groups in the area supplying boxes is led by Dhana Abbey of Tryon. Through her organization, Caring Hearts Rendering Immediate Support Together or C.H.R.I.S.T, she has installed several boxes throughout the area.
Abbey discovered the blessing box movement while visiting Black Mountain, N.C. There, she was inspired by the surprising generosity surrounding blessing boxes by both the locals and the tourists.
When Abbey decided to supply blessing boxes in and around Tryon, she was able to find good-hearted folks to help design the boxes, supply the wood, and put the boxes together. She has since provided boxes to several local locations, and is currently looking for a spot to place a box dedicated to pets.
Another group involved in the movement is Steps to HOPE, which has placed ‘Hope Boxes’ on Wall St. in Columbus, the Mill Spring Fire Department parking lot, and First Baptist Church of Tryon.
The boxes were installed by Steps to HOPE volunteers and are kept stocked by local families and church members, as well as the Rotary Club of Tryon.
One church member said, “We know so many families are struggling at this time and want to do something to help.”