Blessing Box brings bounty to Chester

Chester. Girl Scout Ally Turner’s Gold Award project at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chester provides easy access to food and hygiene products for anyone who needs them. All are welcome to a ceremonial blessing of the box on Sunday, September 24th at 11 a.m.

| 18 Sep 2023 | 02:51

Ally Turner, 18, of Warwick, was contemplating a meaningful project to accomplish her Girl Scout Gold Award. The result is a Blessing Box, based on a simple idea — “Take what you need, leave what you can.” The box is located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chester. Outside of the church, it is easily accessible to those who need the non-perishable foods or hygiene products left by the generosity of others. Some things donated include pasta, cereal, canned goods, and toothbrushes.

Turner’s idea came to her after seeing the benefit of the Blessing Box at her own church, Christ Church of Warwick. The church received an anonymous letter stating the writer had lost their job and appreciates the help. Turner said this made her feel inspired, adding, “It means a lot to me, to help people get through tough times.” Wanting to expand the program, she partnered with St. Paul’s to make it happen.

She got started by contacting the church to present her plan. After being granted approval, she went to work, requesting materials from local hardware and lumber stores, organizing a crew of volunteers to build the box, and managing the process, right through painting the lettering on the structure herself.

Debby Adams, senior warden of the church, said, “We’re quite pleased, and grateful to have the box on our property.” She said the congregation is enthusiastic, and that the church is helping to spread the word about it. She noted that it is completely anonymous and available any time of day or night.

A graduate of Warwick Valley High School, Turner has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. She aspired to culminate her Girl Scout career with a Gold Award. Currently a freshman at the University of Delaware, Turner said this project would help her in her future, “I learned a lot about time management, not just my time and energy, also other people’s.” She experienced the benefit of teamwork and good communication skills, saying, “I learned how far something like this can go in the community.”

A Blessing of the Box will take place on Sunday, September 24, after the 10 a.m. mass, by Priest in Charge Mother Claire Lofgren, of St Paul’s Episcopal Church at 101 Main Street, Chester. All are welcome for the ceremony, and to make donations.