MEXICO — If you are traveling along Church Street in the village of Mexico and look over into the parking lot of Mexico First United Methodist Church (FUMC), you will see a wooden structure, standing upright at six feet or so, that has a door on the front. What is that structure, you may wonder?
The answer is — a Blessing Box.
What then, is a Blessing Box?
Simply stated it is a box that holds blessings. In this case, the box contains the blessings of food and more. These items are put there for the sole purpose of blessing people.
Sometime ago the Mexico FUMC Outreach Committee came up with the idea of a Blessing Box to make food available to folks. “We planned to open it after Easter when the weather would be better,” explains Lori Behling, FUMC Outreach Committee Chairperson. “But we moved the opening up when the virus hit and the shutdowns began.”
The Blessing Box was built by a local Amish builder and placed in the parking lot of the church. Church member Jenna Behling made signs to be placed inside the Blessing Box. One sign reflects a verse from the Bible that the Outreach Committee has been guided by for many years, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” Matthew 25:35.
On March 19, the Blessing Box was filled and several members of the Outreach Committee gathered with Mexico FUMC Pastor Grace Warren as she offered a blessing. Prior to the prayer Warren said, “Jesus told us that those in need would always be with us. And we here at Mexico First wanted to respond to that need.”
A second sign inside the box reads, “Take what you need, bring what you can. Above all be blessed!” Speaking to the second part of this sign, about bringing items to the Blessing Box, Lori Behling notes that sometimes there is a buy one — get one free bag of chips at the store and a shopper may not need that second bag, so may donate it to the Blessing Box.
Warren also spoke about the folks who are on the giving end when she said, “In this time, sharing, showing the love of Christ, is one thing that’s going to keep this community together.”
On the day the Blessing Box was filled, blessed, and officially opened, a neighbor noticed what was going on in the church parking lot and walked over to ask about it. The neighbor then went home and brought over food items and more to donate to the box. “Nothing warmed our hearts more,” says Lori Behling. “What a nice start. Someone recognized what we were doing and wanted to help.”
Behling and other members of the Outreach Committee check the check to Blessing Box often to be sure there is plenty of food. In addition to food items, visitors to the box may find paper products, personal hygiene items, detergents, and craft supplies. Regarding donations, others are welcome to call the church at 315-963-3066 for more information.
Recognizing all of the ways and means that food is made available to those in need in the area, Behling says, “We are happy to be linking arms with all other churches and organizations in the county who offer the blessing of food in any way.”
Behling also points out that anyone, no matter the circumstance, is welcome to stop at the Blessing Box saying, “No one need be destitute to visit the Blessing Box. If someone has already been to the grocery store and remembers on the way home that they forgot egg noodles, they are welcome to stop at the Blessing Box. This box it for everybody. If you need something, please take it. If you wish to leave something, we thank you.”