Lowcountry Blessing Box Project Installs 100th Free Pantry

The Lowcountry Blessing Box Project’s 100th location was installed this week in Huger. Blessing Boxes are donation sites for non-perishable foods and toiletry items. The project launched in the Charleston area back in April of 2017 as a way to help food insecure families anonymously receive the help they need to get through until payday. There is one simple guideline: "Leave what you can, take what you need."

The Lowcountry Blessing Box Project started with four repurposed cabinets and a social media account run and organized by local attorney, mom, and James Island resident Katie Dahlheim.  Blessing Box locations now span from Ravenel to McClellanville, Summerville, Pineville, Cottageville, Wadmalaw Island, and everywhere in between. Plus, Four boxes are scheduled to arrive soon in Beaufort.

Often Blessing Boxes are placed in food deserts, where at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the population resides more than one mile from a grocery store. Studies show that adults with food insecurity will skip meals or reduce their portions to provide for children in their homes as they wait for payday. Many food insecure families do not qualify for the assistance of food banks, or are hesitant to turn to food banks due to the stigma.

Because their work is anonymous, there is no data on how many people are helped. A conservative estimate – if you assume each Blessing Box aids 5 people per week – would be 26,000 people a year in the Lowcountry alone. Due to the success of the project, the group also provides several free laundry events throughout the year in various locations. This past weekend volunteers did more than $560 worth of laundry for folks living in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood.

The Lowcountry Blessing Box Project has also collaborated with fellow non-profit organization I Heart Hungry Kids, as well as the Queen Street Hospitality Group and the Charleston Restaurant Foundation for "Catch Up on Lunch" - a fundraising effort to repay past due lunch debt for public school children in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties. This spring, the lunch debt was erased at four local schools – to the tune of more than $25,000.

To get involved, visit www.chsblessingbox.wixsite.com/home or follow @chsblessingbox on social media.

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