It Worked for Us
The wooden box looks like a kitchen cabinet with see-through doors. It sits near the church, and it is full. People open and close the doors numerous times each day. Get close enough and you can read the message: "Leave what you can. Take what you need. Remember, God loves us all."
Non-perishable food items fill the Blessing Box at Tonkawa United Methodist Church. Replenished frequently, it is one of many found at United Methodist churches throughout the Northern Prairie District in Oklahoma.
"I saw a man in an old pick-up truck put food in the box," said the Rev. Rob Harris, pastor of Tonkawa. "I also saw a very nicely dressed lady in a nice car who stopped and picked up food in the evening." Harris said you never know who needs to eat or feed a family.
Elementary, middle and high school students are among those who take food. They receive free lunches at school, but no school means no food. "Some high schoolers are embarrassed to ask for food," Harris said. The Blessing Box allows them to take food discreetly.
Tonkawa church members started the Blessing Box in late 2016 after speaking with David Nichols about the need for food in their community. Nichols, husband of Northern Prairie District superintendent the Rev. Tish Malloy, suggested starting the Blessing Box. Men from churches in the district build the boxes at a woodworking shop at Northern Oklahoma College. Eighteen have already been placed at churches throughout the district. More are waiting for their box.
Church members and people from the community pack the Blessing Box with soup, spaghetti and sauce, breakfast bars, tuna, macaroni and cheese, soap, shampoo and other items.
"It's a true blessing just as much for people who give as those who receive," said Harris. "I truly believe that it's the ruah, breath of God, to help. People come out of the woodwork to help," including many from the community.