A family in Garden City is working hard to keep their “blessing box” filled with necessities for those in need.
A blessing box is a free pantry filled with non-perishable food, hygiene products, baby supplies, and more.
“We service about 50 to 60 people a day,” said Elizabeth Freeman, the founder of Elmwood Blessing Box in Garden City.
Freeman, who works for Section 8 Housing, knows the feeling of being in need all too well, she said. She started the pantry in April 2023; the project has been extra personal for her.
“I utilized food pantries and other community resources a lot before I met my husband,” Freeman continued. “It was so hard, with two young children, just getting the help you needed.”
Freeman and her husband initially funded the initiative by setting aside $50 a week for the pantry.
“There’s people that are struggling that work long hours and they can’t make the time constraints of a food pantry or other community resources,” Freeman said. “So we decided we were going to make this blessing box, which would be 24-hour, full access, for anybody to come at any point in time.”
Now, the community has been providing assistance.
On Wednesday, “someone came by and donated two heads of lettuce, granola bars and two gallons of milk,” said Freeman’s younger brother, Ian Stewart.
Some days, there are dozens of packages on their front porch from their Amazon wish list, Freeman said.
For people like Jennifer Osborn, a mother from Garden City, the Elmwood Blessing Box is exactly that.
“They’ve been a blessing. I have a six month old son – I ran out of formula, she had extra. Baby food? She has extra. Kids are out of school? She does little bags to help us while they’re not in school to feed them and stuff,” Osborn said. “She’s an amazing blessing.”
Soon, the family will be starting a mobile food pantry to help people who don’t have transportation.
“The mobile pantry will be basically a tiny house filled with shelves that we will transport to anybody that needs it – and their whole community will be able to shop for two hours,” Freeman said.
If you are in need or would like to donate, the Elmwood Blessing Box is located at 29878 Elmwood St.