This guest post is written by Katie Dahlheim. Katie is a lawyer, wife and mom of two daughters living on James Island. She started the Lowcountry Blessing Box Project in March of this year.
Teaching your kids the value of serving others, and the virtue of kindness, is now a little easier. Thanks to a newly formed nonprofit called the Lowcountry Blessing Box Project, you and your children can do good deeds together right in your neighborhood.
The simple concept of “Leave What You Can – Take What You Need,” applies to the weatherproof, glass-front Blessing Boxes, some of which were fashioned out of old kitchen cabinets, while others have been built from scratch. The purpose of each box is to allow you to donate nonperishable food and toiletry items so that those who are in need can pick them up anonymously.
Some of the boxes were built by scout troops, youth organizations, and religious groups. Many were set up by good neighbors who saw a need where they live. All are placed in public areas with easy access for folks to pull a car over and place (or take) a few items. Some of the helpful things found in Blessing Boxes include canned soups and fruits, peanut butter, pasta, rice, or other items that can help a family get through “’til payday.” Baby wipes, diapers, pet food, and sample size shampoos and toothpaste are also useful.
Getting the kids involved is as easy as taking them to the dollar store or grocery and letting them pick out a few items to donate, then driving them to the Box nearest you. You may want to encourage older kids to earn the money to buy their donations, and make it a monthly project. One soon-to-be teenager is going to build a Blessing Box with her friends instead of having a traditional birthday party. Other kids have orchestrated canned good drives to fill our Boxes. This a community project and creative contributions are encouraged. As parents, it is our job to teach our children to be so many things – responsible, independent, respectful – but also to be kind.