Wakulla’s ‘blessing boxes’ serving crucial role in helping families get food on the table

A volunteer group set up a 10th blessing box in less than a year, helping families get food on the table as costs of living continue to rise.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:13 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A volunteer group is celebrating a milestone of giving. Wakulla Feeding Wakulla debuted a 10th “blessing box” Tuesday at the Wakulla County Community Center.

After volunteers stocked the mini food pantry with essentials, a local deacon led the group in prayer, putting the “blessing” in “blessing box.”

The first box was built on the grounds of the Wakulla County Courthouse in July 2021. The group decided to go that route after providing food backpacks for students during holiday breaks. During the pandemic, they realized the need was even greater.

“Food insecurity is a problem, and we also know people are proud,” said Denise Colangelo, the Director of Operation Wakulla, which oversees Wakulla Feeding Wakulla. “For some people, they’ve never had a need to take food. They’ve always had a need to purchase food, but in this economy, it’s a daily struggle to provide food for your family.”

For most of the first year, the group needed to replenish the boxes once or twice a week. But in just the last several weeks, many of the boxes have needed new supplies multiple times a day.

Colangelo said she thinks inflation and higher gas prices are a big reason why.

”You have to make a choice: Are you going to put gas in your car to go to work, or groceries for your family?” she said.

The volunteers said the food strain worsens in summer months when kids are away from school. Volunteer Evelyn Savary said when they can, they try to tailor the boxes to suit a child’s needs.

“A lot of the children, I think, in the communities know where they are and can get the quick macaroni and cheese, or Spaghetti-O or something like that,” she said.

As the effort grows, so does the community support.

“It has been heartwarming. We have seen so many civic groups donate funds for us as well as food,” Colangelo said.

The group hopes to install a 12th blessing box by the one-year anniversary of the first box next month. Plans are in the works to install one at the Wakulla County Public Library soon.

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