Even during these difficult times, a positive light can be found on the corner of 12th and Vine. Over the last several years, small boxes that serve as miniature pantries, known as ‘blessing boxes’, have been popping up in communities across the nation. Clara Barton Hospital is proud to announce the recent installation of Hoisington’s very own Blessing Box, located in front of GPS Kids Club.
A long-time community initiative to provide easy access to healthy food inspired the creation of the Blessing Box as local partners, Clara Barton Hospital and Clinics, and Pathways to a Healthy Kansas collaborated on expanding opportunities for residents to acquire fresh produce. For over 30 years, residents have utilized and supported the Hoisington Food Bank, whose hours of operation are 2 – 4 PM the second Monday of the month and 4 – 6 PM the fourth Monday of the month. However, the addition of the Blessing Box now allows community members 24/7 access to food items during any time of need.
Knowing that the GPS Kids Club currently manages a garden at their facility, the idea was shared with Debbie Stephens. Stephens and her organization are involved in a variety of community projects and felt that the addition of a Blessing Box aligned perfectly with their mission.
“This Blessing Box is a good opportunity to teach our kids valuable life lessons and how to be there for one another,” said Stephens. “Essentially, the kids will be in charge of caring for the box, learning to be responsible by checking on it daily and restocking it when items are low.”
In addition to providing increased access to non-perishable food items and household necessities, the Blessing Box will be utilizing produce from the GPS Kids Club garden to offer fresh and healthy food to the community. Stephens’ goal for the food produced from the garden is to use one-third for the kids at school to eat, to sell one-third of it – investing that money back into their program, and to donate the last third to the Blessing Box. Once community collaborators and GPS Kids decided to join forces and put this project in motion, the next step was to find someone willing to build it. After discussing the project with Paul Axman from Axman Builders, he not only agreed to build the Blessing Box but also donated his time to do so.
“I knew the Blessing Box would leave a positive impact on our tight-knit community and I was thrilled to see the business, organizations and community members come together to see this job through,” said Axman. “Thanks to the support of these key community partners, we were able to work together and donate the lumber, time and money needed to complete this meaningful project.”
The Blessing Box would not have been possible without the help, donations and support of:
- Axman Builders
- A & F Enterprises
- Great Bend Redi-Mix
- Knights of Columbus: Council #1521
- GPS Kids Club
- Hoisington Food Bank
- BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas
- Pathways to a Healthy Kansas
- Clara Barton Hospital & Clinics
- The Health for Life Coalition of Hoisington and Northern Barton County
The Blessing Box is located in front of the GPS Kids Club building at 352 12th St in Hoisington. All community members are encouraged to “take what you need and leave what you can.” If the blessing box is full, please leave donated items with Debbie inside the GPS building.