Tuesday, January 23, 2018
The blessings box
I went to a meeting at a downtown church, and was intrigued to find two glass-front boxes on the sidewalk in front. One was the standard Little Library box, with some books in it, but the second was labeled "Blessings" and contained a couple of bars of soap and some packages of cheese crackers. The neighborhood gathers a large number of homeless people, with various overnight and day shelters and soup kitchens, as well as freeway overpasses and secluded camps, so this seemed like a good way to dispense small useful things to those in need.
The next time I was in the neighborhood I brought a big bag of hotel soaps and shampoos that had been accumulating in my cupboards. The box was empty and I was happy to restock it. I was corresponding with my daily email pal and remarked that for those at the lowest end of the ladder, soap could be a luxury. She wrote back, "but where will they use the soap?"
I decided I should be responding to more immediate needs, so the next time I was at the grocery store I bought eight jars of peanut butter. That seemed like a good offering: nutritious, won't spoil, stand-alone if necessary. I drove past the box a couple of days later and the PB was all gone, so apparently somebody wanted it.
On our next grocery trip, while my husband browsed the produce, I browsed the pharmacy and found two bags full of things for the blessings box.
We've always given money to several agencies that help the homeless, but somehow I feel more personally connected now that I can put things into the box and see that they have been taken and used. I'm going to try to keep that box stocked; maybe next time, a whole case of PB, and a lot of tube sox.
Perhaps there's a blessings box in your town; if so, I recommend it for your charitable impulses. Especially on very cold days.