Man’s Blessing Box a Food Pantry For the Hungry You Can Replicate

By Heather CallaghanEditor

The concepts of Little Free Pantries and Blessing Boxes are finally starting to blossom across the country. That’s good news for those who like to lend a helping hand – and great news for those who need it.

Similar to “Free Libraries,” the concept is simple. A cabinet with a window is placed on a visible roadside or at the edge of someone’s yard. Usually there are words to invite those in need. Something like “Take what you need, leave what you can.”

“Whether you’re taking or giving, you can just go to the blessing box,” Roman Espinoza told CNN. “There’s not a lock on it — it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The 46-year-old army vet was inspired to make his own while taking a human services class at a community college and marveled that the campus needed its food pantry for struggling students. Like others, he places toiletries and other necessary items in the box for the homeless.

“I thought, ‘Man, these adults that are spending time taking classes can’t eat every day, ‘” he said.
Little free pantries allows you to serve others without being present and helps those in need maintain their dignity. Espinoza surmises that the Watertown, NY community is using his own box at night to avoid humiliation. Now he is helping others make boxes.

“I’ve gotten a couple of requests from people around town for boxes for their property,” he added. “With any luck, we’ll have a few around town where people can be made aware of them and make use of them.”

The only obstacles so far are those placed by city code enforcers who may try to A) destroy them, B) claim there was a “complaint” and C) quote some obscure, vaguely written city code about “aesthetics.” When this happens, don’t back down – you have a right to feed your community!

Free pantries and blessing boxes are “open-source” on two levels. They offer their goods freely and they are easy to replicate – you don’t really need a plan. A cabinet or container on a post or podium is the main idea.

But just in case, here are some resources to help and inspire:

Want to help yourself and others? Step 1) Clean out your cabinets of foods that you no longer wish to eat but haven’t gotten around to getting rid of. Step 2) Make a neighborhood pantry or find one. Step 3) Fill pantry and commence the blessings.

Is a neighborhood food pantry something you can see yourself doing? Let us know in the comments below! We appreciate all those who share this good news!


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 favorite-velva-smallHeather Callaghan is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and food freedom activist. She is the Editor and co-founder of NaturalBlaze as well as a certified Self-Referencing IITM Practitioner.

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