[Updated October 2020]
No Child Goes Hungry (NCGH) is pleased to partner with the Columbus Blessing Boxes Project to support its expanding network of little free pantries throughout Central Ohio. Like many organizations, the leaders of Columbus Blessing Boxes have had to be very creative with their support model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the growing need for hunger relief in the community and keep volunteers socially distanced. To date, NCGH has donated $2,500 to support the building and stocking of eight Blessings Boxes.
Since its founding, the Columbus Blessing Boxes project has built and established new boxes through a collaborative group-building process. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the need for the community and its volunteers to remain safely and socially distanced, the organization needed to pivot its strategy and find a way to continue expanding its network at a time of escalated hunger-relief need.
“Since we can’t get a group together to have a build day, we’ve partnered with a local Eagle Scout candidate and his grandfather to assemble Blessing Box kits,” explained Columbus Blessing Boxes Project Founder, Gretchen Davis. “Each kit will have everything needed to assemble a box, including pre-cut wood, a pre-assembled door, roof and directions. Several people have expressed their desire to build a box from the kits. When the kits are ready, the Scouts will take them to the people that have signed up to be builders. When boxes are completed, we’ll ask volunteers to take the new boxes to their locations around Central Ohio. We’ve partnered with a local church, Lithopolis United Methodist Church in Lithopolis, Ohio. Their members are signing up to go on regular routes to help keep the boxes filled. We already have a list of people willing and anxiously waiting to host new boxes.”
Columbus Blessing Boxes was founded in January 2018 with the goal of both helping families in need in their community and encouraging children to experience the tenants of volunteerism, advocacy, and stewardship.
For months, we had been searching for a charitable organization that would allow our young children to participate,” said Columbus Blessing Boxes Founder Gretchen Davis. “We were turned away over and over, so we decided to start our own charity. We want our children to know that every good deed counts and that we can all help in some way, big or small. We started the Columbus Blessing Boxes project, purchased some used cabinets on Craigslist, and with some willing friends and family, turned them into the first Blessing Boxes.”
Today, their project has turned into a network of hope and desperately needed hunger relief. With over 100 boxes throughout Central Ohio as of 2023, the Blessing Boxes project is helping to change lives and foster a sense of community responsibility and support.
I immediately connected with Gretchen’s story about how she was trying to find a charitable organization in which her kids could volunteer,” said NCGH Founder and Director Rev. Kären Rasmussen. “I know so many parents who struggle to find similar opportunities for their children to participate in community activities. The beauty of the Blessing Boxes is that kids and people of all ages can be involved. I am so impressed by how the organization has been able to pivot its strategy and partner with two innovative community members to continue its mission of helping address hunger advocacy in Central Ohio. I’m proud that No Child Goes Hungry can support this critical organization.”
[June 6, 2020]
No Child Goes Hungry (NCGH) is pleased to provide a $1000 donation to the Columbus Blessing Boxes Project in Central, OH. Blessing Boxes are outdoor cabinets in public places stocked with non-perishable food items, basic toiletries, baby supplies, and anything else that might be considered a blessing to someone who finds themselves in need. Items are anonymously donated and anonymously received. The organization will use the donated funds to build and initially stock six more Blessing Boxes around Central Ohio.
“Our Blessing Boxes operate from a simple philosophy,” said Gretchen Davis, Columbus Blessing Boxes President, and Founder. “Leave what you can, take what you need.”
Davis says her organization has established 60 Blessing Boxes around Central Ohio. The organization uses a variety of partnership methods to fund, build, supply, and host the box locations long-term.
“Sometimes, volunteers build Blessing Boxes for us to give to people that want to host a box or put into places of need. Other times, volunteers build boxes to put on their properties, such as churches. We have several volunteers able to construct boxes. We use basic building plans that can be easily modified if needed for a location.”
“We are proud to partner with the Columbus Blessing Boxes Program and further its efforts to established little free pantries in Central Ohio,” said NCGH Founder and Director Kären Rasmussen. “We believe that little free pantries are affordable and sustainable community solutions to the issue of food insecurity, and we value the opportunity to support the Columbus Blessing Boxes’ crucial work.”
To learn how NCGH can help support your local hunger advocacy initiative, contact us today.