Blessing box for those in need set up by church in Arkansas

Friday, June 22, 2018

COTTER, Ark. (AP) — A new blessing box located in downtown Cotter received a blessing of its own recently.

Wesley United Methodist Church pastor Jimmie Snow asked those attending a brief dedication ceremony for the box June 5 to lay their hands on it while she prayed that the box would benefit the community.

“We pray for the blessing of this food box, called a blessing box, and for the people that will take food and for those that will supply food,” Snow said during her prayer.

The blessing box, located in the parking lot of Cotter’s City Hall building at 115 McLean Avenue, offers dry goods, canned food, toiletries and household products to anyone in need of them. Affixed to the glass door of the box is “Take what you need, give what you can, all will be blessed.”

Snow said the box will be restocked and maintained by Wesley United Methodist Church, but said that other churches, civic groups or individuals are welcome to help keep the box supplied with items.

“We hope this will become a community project with people taking what they need and sharing as they are able,” Snow said. “Everyone is invited to participate. The is no sign-up required, this is a ‘Good Samaritan’ blessing box.”

People wishing to leave items in the box may do so any time. If they find that the box is already full, they may leave their items at Wesley United Methodist Church or at City Hall, the Baxter Bulletin reported.

“I want to challenge and encourage the citizens of Cotter: If you can afford to give a little, please do so. Let’s keep it stocked,” Mayor Peggy Hammock said after the dedication ceremony. “This is such a good thing, especially since we’re such a small community.”

Snow said her church first learned of the idea of blessing boxes from sister churches in Batesville and Salem.

“We thought this to be a wonderful idea, and our Missions and Outreach Committee thought it would beneficial if we could install a box in downtown Cotter,” she said.

Snow discussed the idea with the mayor, who then presented the idea to the City Council, which had no objections.

Asa Whitaker of the First United Methodist Church in Batesville built the blessing box, and Wesley United Methodist members Dave West and Mark Hilton installed it.

Snow cautioned prospective donors about leaving canned food in the box. Such items can swell and eventually explode from extreme heat or cold, she warned.

“We do have some canned goods in there right now,” she said. “But I’m hoping someone picks them up soon.”

Snow said she hoped to see the box carry a large selection of individual-sized snacks like applesauce or cereal.

“Our community has a lot of kids that walk around, especially here in the summer,” she said. “I’d like to have items so that if a child is out and they are hungry, they can get something to eat. We don’t want anyone to hungry, especially children.”