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"Blessing Box" Mission Grows In Southeast Kansas - KOAM TV 7

"Blessing Box" Mission Grows In Southeast Kansas

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Pittsburg, KS -

Many people are talking about a new mission they've seen in Pittsburg to care for local people in need.  There are no sign-up sheets, or strict guidelines to become involved.

But that may be what makes this project unique.

"Hi guys.  I'm sitting over here in Pittsburg," says a woman in a Facebook video.

The video shows a mobile food vendor near a new Blessing Box.

"The Blessing Box has been a great idea!  There have been at least five, maybe as many as six people, ladies come today and just check the box, make sure there's things in there," says the woman in the video.

Shirley Lechien is one of those ladies.  There's a lot of emotion and meaning behind this box.  Lechien found an idea on Facebook:  Fill a box with food, shampoo, and other toiletries.

"Part of our mission with this is to not only feed the people and fill their stomachs, as we also hope they will reach out and search for a church," says Lechien.

The Blessing Box, at the busy intersection of 13th and Rouse streets, has been there for about ten days.

"This morning, it's full and ready for the day.  But if you come back mid-day, it may be partially empty," says Lechien.

Richard Brooksher built this Blessing Box.  He works for the local post office, and knows the community in more ways than one.

There are needs in Pittsburg.  "A lot more than people realize," says Brooksher.

"We had a person on a bicycle.  Struck a conversation with her.  She said her water had been shut off, and she has a child who is going to school.  She really thanked me for doing this," says Bruce Lechien, who also helps organize the Blessing Box.

You may notice tire ruts in the grass near the Blessing Box.  There's a story behind this, too, that a local resident told Bruce.

"It was a rainy night, she couldn't see, it was a young mother, probably not even in her 30's, with a 10-year-old child.  They were hungry.  I think she was trying to get close to the box where she could actually get some food out, without having to get out of the car," says Bruce.

People not in need may take advantage of this Blessing Box.  But that's a risk that organizers behind this project say they're willing to take.

"From the get go, we've had a lot of what if's.  What if somebody does this.  What if somebody puts graffiti on the box.  We'll repaint it.  If somebody destroys the box, I'll build a new one.  We've always thought the positives outweigh any negatives that could possibly happen," says Brooksher.

The goal is for the community to own this Blessing Box, and for the box to be refilled by anyone.

"Take what you need.  Bring what you can.  Above all, be blessed," reads a sign on this Blessing Box.  It's a simple saying, but one that means the world to people in need.

Another Blessing Box is being built at the outpatient entrance to Via Christi Hospital, and a different group of people want to build two more Blessing Boxes elsewhere in Southeast Kansas.  

The items in the Blessing Box will also include gloves and clothing to keep warm during the winter months.  

A prayer box, attached to the Blessing Box, has also been used by the community.  A Facebook page allows people to find out more information about this mission.

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