Local woman hopes little things help out big

A box packed with various food and personal care items has been set up in Andrea Storms’ front yard, located at 856 Dimond St. in Huntington. The sign invites those in need to take what they can use but leave a “blessing” for others.
A box packed with various food and personal care items has been set up in Andrea Storms’ front yard, located at 856 Dimond St. in Huntington. The sign invites those in need to take what they can use but leave a “blessing” for others. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

At 856 Dimond St., there is a wooden box posted in Andrea Storms’ front yard, serving as a waystation of blessings.

It’s dubbed the “Blessing Box,” and inside can be found both food and non-food items, such as toilet paper, canned goods, tooth brushes, feminine items, sanitary wipes and even fresh eggs.

Signs nailed to the box’s post say “Take what you need” and “Leave what you can.”

Storms, a real estate appraiser who works from home, says it was one way she could do her part to help her fellow neighbors – those who are in a tight spot she knows well from experience.

“I really love the idea of the ‘little libraries’ that are around, so when those came out years ago I was very attracted to them,” she explains. “I am one who likes to serve vulnerable people. I myself have been vulnerable and been served, and so it’s one of those things where my heart wants to give back when it can.”

When Storms saw posts on Pinterest about “free little pantries” she was inspired to put one in her yard, but buying an already-built box was cost prohibitive. But she contacted a friend, Chris Bowers, of E&M Woodworks, and he built one for her.

Storms painted the box herself and decorated the outside with #blessingbox and #live4love hashtags and had it open for business on March 18. So far, she has not been disappointed with the results. She says a lot of people have taken advantage of the free goods.

“It supplies a need,” she says. “There’s been an exchange of items in there on a loving pace, and that’s what I was hoping to see.

People who have visited the Blessing Box have not only taken items, but have been generous about putting things inside that could help out others who didn’t find the items on store shelves.

“But if you need something, that doesn’t mean that you have to give something as well,” she adds. “If you need something but you have nothing to give, that’s OK. It’s for the vulnerable.”

Others have come by the house to take pictures of the box; Storms hopes it is with the idea of creating their own Blessing Box where they live. She would love to see 10 more boxes pop up around the community.

“A lot of people have asked me, ‘Where did you get this box? How much did it cost?’” she says. “I’m trying to answer everybody and refer them to E&M Woodworks, to Chris.”

Storms says she has received some encouraging feedback from the photos she posted on the Live4Love Facebook page, mostly from people she doesn’t know, she says. In the meantime, she is having three more of the boxes made and is deciding on where to place them.