Kheira B., a young person at Puyallup UMC, helped bring her vision of helping those in need with a Blessing Box – a take-what-you-need station in front of her church. So far, it has received a lot of positive attention on Facebook and is seeing a healthy turnaround of goods.
By Kheira B. | Photos by Pastor Karen Yokota Love
Lately, I began having a vision to create change within my community, but I didn’t think my vision would be possible. I wanted to create a “Blessing Box” where homeless members of our community could have a take-what-you-need and donate-what-you-can type of investment, but at no cost. For example, if an individual forgot a side dish for dinner, they could check the Blessing Box; if someone is cold and needed gloves they could check there; if it is 10 o’clock at night and someone realizes they have no more dog food, they can stop by the Blessing Box for essentials!
I originally planned to place it in my neighborhood in Tacoma, but I had a better idea instead. I decided to stop dreaming about my vision and make it reality…maybe in Puyallup?
I brought the idea to the attention of my Pastor Karen Yokota Love. I explained to Pastor Karen that I wanted our neighborhood’s homeless population to have a place to go for resources, without being chastised for how they live. I promised to do all the construction of the box with my Grandpa so the congregation members did not have to worry. She encouraged me to go forth and present my ideas to our church’s administrative council. Once I did that, they instantly approved the idea.
We agreed on placing it outside of the Puyallup United Methodist Church and I got started right away. At first, I thought I was going to end up being the main contributor of the project. But, within a matter of days of it being placed outside of our church, there were so many items already filling it up!
At first, I didn’t think having something like a Blessing Box would be possible, due to how some people view homelessness in my neighboring city of Puyallup. I was used to seeing it “taken care of” by the city when they insisted that the homeless leave the Puyallup River. When our Freezing Nights program at church began, we started having issues with funding and volunteer support. I wanted people to have a real and secure place to go when there was nowhere to turn to. More and more, I would see examples of hardships our homeless community have to go through all year…it really opened my eyes.
It’s 2017 and I am still actively involved in the community. I simply want to help others and give back, not just for the homeless…for anyone. I am so appreciative of my church’s encouragement and I hope that the Blessing Box will be an inspiration to other communities.
For more information, visit Puyallup United Methodist Church on Facebook, fb.com/PuyallupUMC.