If you think of traditional food pantries and assistance organizations as grocery stores for those in need, the Blessing Box at Russell Memorial United Methodist Church is a 24/7 corner convenience store.
Built as an Eagle Scout project by Aiden Nychka in May of 2017, the glass-fronted cabinet showcases its contents for all to see, with a plaque saying, “Take what you need. Leave what you can. Above all, be blessed.”
“I liked the idea, and that you don’t have to do any paperwork or qualify… if you are in need, you can come get it,” Nychka said.
The idea was first spotted on Facebook by the church’s pastor, David Cartwright.
“There was a video of someone who did this in West Texas, and people thought it was a good idea,” Cartwright said. “We have people coming all the time, both to give and to take what they need.”
The idea has caught on in Wills Point, with Pleasant Hill Baptist Church adding a similar setup.
“Pleasant Hill has one now, and we’d like to see a lot more of these in other areas,” Cartwright said. “It is best if they are easily accessible by walking for the surrounding neighborhood. I’d like to see them on businesses and other buildings as well.”
Along with standard food items and canned goods, the box is often stocked with hygiene items, cleaning supplies and other necessities not covered by food stamps.
Russell Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 201 S. 4th St. in Wills Point.