TUCKAHOE, N.J. (CBS) — In South Jersey, a small idea has sparked a big effort to help people who need groceries. Church tradition says bells are God’s call to gather and give thanks.
At Tuckahoe United Methodist on Route 49 in Cape May County, there is a wooden box outside, which is packed with food for anyone who needs it. It’s the church’s way of sharing their blessings.
“We’re excited because, with relatively little resources, we’ve been able to make a huge difference in the community,” said Tuckahoe United Methodist Board President Blanche Adams.
Last summer, Adams began discussing something she saw online with her pastor and fellow board members.
It was an initiative called Little Free Pantries, or blessing boxes, at churches throughout the country. They’re a place to anonymously pick up or drop off food.
Thanks to online construction plans and few handy parishioners, the church put out their own little pantry by Thanksgiving.
“People in the church leave things every week when they come in. We try to keep it organized,” Adams said.
Everyday parishioner Liz Bready walks across busy Route 49 from her house to check on the little pantry.
“I just check things around, see what needs to be organized,” Bready said.
She says every morning and evening, there are vehicles stopping by the food box.
“There’s people taking stuff, there’s people dropping bags, there’s people taking and dropping off as well. It’s definitely a daily occurrence that people are stopping in here, which is really nice,” Bready said.
Bready says since the pantry opened two months ago, there have been no issues with vandalism or people wiping out all the food. But if someone does raid the pantry, Adams says that’s perfectly fine.
“And we would love for that to happen because if we showed up here one time and it was all cleared out, it would mean that somebody needed it,” she said.
The church is hoping other churches will do the same and create their own blessing box.