A worthy Claus

A Blessing Box on Lee Street in Watertown contains food items for people to take when needed. Watertown Daily Times

An international celebrity has been recruited to help people in the area who need assistance during the holidays.

Santa will stop by Chestnut and Sherman streets in Watertown on Saturday to collect food items. They will be placed in local Blessing Boxes.

Gina and Robert Finn persuaded Big Red to promote the Blessing Box idea by making an appearance. Located at various places around the city, these receptacles hold non-perishable food items. Individuals are welcome to stop by one and take what they need.

Roman Espinoza was the first Watertown resident to put a Blessing Box in front of his home at 123 Chestnut St. in 2017. A student at Jefferson Community College at the time and retired Fort Drum soldier, he had heard about this concept spreading nationwide.

A sign near the Blessing Box on Mr. Espinoza’s property reads: “Take What You Need. Bring What You Can. Above all, Be Blessed.” Each box invites people to leave what food items they can as well as take items when necessary.

Gina and Robert Finn recognized that more people are likely to experience food insecurity given the economic downturn we’ve experienced. The novel coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected many individuals financially. So they wanted to bring a new sense of awareness to the Blessing Boxes with the hope that residents would respond favorably.

The pandemic has made the holidays very challenging for people whose work hours have been reduced or jobs cut. Supporting programs and organizations that address food insecurity is critical.

“The need to fill the Blessing Boxes — small food pantries in people’s yards — has increased during the difficult economic times of the pandemic,” according to a story published Thursday by the Watertown Daily Times (http://wdt.me/6FzuwL). “The 2-foot-wide wooden boxes sit on a post and are stacked with non-perishable food collected from the community. … There are now 32 Blessing Boxes in and around Watertown.”

We commend the Finns for bringing Santa to the community to promote the Blessing Box idea. Let’s all be aware of the needs of others as we approach the holidays. Find a Blessing Box or local food pantry, and make a difference for those who could use a helping hand.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(2) comments

zeitgeist

Blessing Boxes are one of the many ways communities can address the problem of food insecurity, intensified, now, by COVID. People used to be able to rely on family members and immediate neighbors to lighten the burden of their insecurities, but, today, people live more isolated lives for a variety of reasons, COVID, now, added to them. One particularly appealing thing about Blessing Boxes is that those who take from them don't have to explain why. The way the boxes function does not involve shaming.

rdsouth

How many of them are in the neighborhoods where they are most needed?

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