Morgantown community member creates “Blessing Box” to give back to those in need

Blessing Box in church lot

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In a time of many difficulties for many people, one community member is hoping to offer help to others in the form of a box.

Gabrielle Chico, a member of the Pierpont Church of the Nazarene, has created what she calls a Blessing Box to help her community.

“The Blessing Box works by me and my church, or anyone in the community can go fill it up; canned food items, nonperishable food items, basic hygiene items, and such that someone in need might need,” Chico said. “And then anyone who knows about the box can just drive up and take what they need. On the front, it says ‘take what you need, leave what you can,’ that’s a motto I really like because people can take whatever they need, no questions asked, and they can just, like I said, take whatever they need.”

A look inside the box and at the ‘Take What You Need, Leave What You Can’ sign

The Blessing Box idea, Chico said, came to her in 2020 when she was driving back from a pageant. She has been involved in the West Virginia Fair and Festival since 2017 and is, in fact, the 2020 Ms. Ripley Fourth of July Teen Queen.

On the way back from one of her pageants, Chico started thinking of different ways to help her community, especially because so many families were struggling because of the pandemic.

With her grandfather’s help, Chico came up with a concept, built it, and installed the Blessing Box right after Thanksgiving in her church’s parking lot.

Another look inside the Blessing Box filled with food and hygiene items

“It’s so rewarding because not bragging but I do come from a very, very, very privileged home and I have had friends before that need help but they don’t really know who to contact,” Chico said. “So me knowing that I put something out for people, where they can just go up and no questions asked it makes me feel so good. Because they don’t have to feel awkward about having to ask someone. They can just go up and get what they need.”

As previously mentioned, Chico’s grandfather played a crucial role in making the box. For him and her church, Chico said she is appreciative.

“I would like to thank my grandpa for helping me build it,” Chico said. “His name is John Sisler. And my church, Pierpont of the Nazarene, for letting me put the Blessing Box up there.”

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