Families in the Hellertown area who are struggling with food insecurity will have another resource available to them, thanks to the generosity of volunteers who dedicated two “blessing boxes” outside St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Roman Catholic church Saturday.
A blessing box is another name for a micropantry; a small cupboard usually mounted somewhere outdoors, in which nonperishable food items and sometimes other household essentials are kept stocked for anyone in need to come and take, free of charge.
A number of blessing boxes that are located in public spaces around Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township are being kept filled with food donations thanks to the members of the Hellertown/Lower Saucon Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group.
The group was started to help families struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic, and “lots of great things have come from (it),” said member Maria Smith.
Two boxes in Lower Saucon Township have been installed over the past year-and-a-half, she said, and the group has also collected gift cards, raising over $500 in the process.
With assistance from other members of Girl Scout Troop 8948, the two new blessing boxes at the church were built by St. Theresa’s member Hayden Jebitsch of Lower Saucon Township as part of a Silver Award project. One box will be stocked with food, while the other will be kept filled with sanitation supplies struggling families also need.
On Saturday, a “Blessing of the Boxes” ceremony was held to celebrate their installation, with Rev. John Krivak of St. Theresa’s officiating and Mayor David Heintzelman of Hellertown in attendance along with members of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors group.
As of Oct. 24, there are seven boxes spread throughout the Saucon Valley, including the newest ones at St. Theresa’s at 1408 Easton Road (the boxes are along Wilson Avenue).
The others are at:
- Christ Lutheran Church, 69 Main St., Hellertown
- Dewey Fire Co., 502 Durham St., Hellertown
- Hellertown Borough Hall, 685 Main St., Hellertown
- First United Church of Christ, 501 Northampton St., Hellertown
- Lower Saucon Town Hall Park, 3700 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bethlehem
- Steel City Park, 2122 Riverside Drive, Bethlehem
Anyone can help fill the boxes by placing items liked canned goods and boxes of pasta inside them. Any food items that are donated should be unopened and unexpired.
The boxes are accessible 24 hours a day.
For more information about how you can help, join the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group and follow the Hellertown/Lower Saucon Blessing Boxes page.
Photos by Chris Christian