Walbridge: Blessing box is a community effort

Staff Writer

When she had the idea of a blessing box for the Village of Walbridge, Karen Baron shared her thoughts on social media.
It didn’t take long before she received a reply.
“I’d read that other communities had them due to the high percentage of people being food insecure,” Baron, a member of village council, said.
Baron was contacted by Owen Lighty, a student at Penta Career Center, and his mother, Christine Lighty, about constructing a box. Mayor Ed Kolanko had mentioned to the family the village was wanting to build one.
Owen, a junior enrolled in the welding program, is working to complete requirements for the Eagle Scout rank and offered to build a box. He told Baron he was stirred by a recent trip to Pennsylvania and the number of people he saw on the streets asking for handouts of food or other assistance.
Caryl Stone, owner of Random Acts, 209 N. Main St., offered her property as a place for the box where her Little Free Library is already located.
“It’s the perfect spot. Well lit, safe and easy to find,” Baron said.
The box has been registered on the littlefreepantry.org/home website. The motto of the mini pantry movement is: Give what you can, take what you need.
Suggested donations include canned goods, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, jelly, powdered milk, boxed puddings, canned baby formula, boxed baby cereal, shampoo, diapers, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap and cleaning supplies.
According to the website, Jessica McClard launched the grassroots mini pantry movement in May 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when she placed a wooden box on a post containing food, personal care and paper items accessible to anyone with no questions asked. She hoped her spin on the Little Free Library concept would pique local awareness of food insecurity while creating a space for neighbors to help meet neighborhood food needs.
“We are not an organization. We are not a nonprofit. Like you, we are neighbors with jobs, families…responsibilities; we don’t have a lot of time, and our budgets are nearly maxed. But we see our neighbors’ daily struggles and feel called to do something in a way that reflects our shared values -compassion, generosity, and trust,” the website says.


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