A Community Blessing Box (Learn Why & How To Make)

A blessing box can be a real blessing to your community! It’s a thoughtful gesture that considers the lives and needs of both neighbors and visitors.

Building a blessing box can help inspire others to give and it’s discrete so no one ever has to “ask permission” to help themselves.

Over the last decade I’ve seen more and more community boxes pop up in neighborhoods – often in larger cities with a high amount of foot traffic.

It requires a small amount of material to make and can usually be made from scraps. In this article I’ll share how you can build your own blessing box and why it a great weekend project to help your community. Let’s get started!

What Is A Blessing Box

So, what exactly is a blessing box? It’s a simple, usually cute, box that goes in a public space, such as a front yard. It acts as a service to the community. Passersby are encouraged to take what they need or to add things they would like to share. More often than not, the boxes have a small door and a roof (for protection from the elements). Inside the box are a few small shelves where items can be stored until someone takes it.

Even if you don’t know them by the name, chances are you’ve seen them when walking or driving through a neighborhood.

A blessing box is usually sitting on a post and near the sidewalk, so passersby can open the box and take what they need or deposit items. There are no locks on the box or someone watching, so the giving and taking are done anonymously and with trust.

If you’ve heard of a “little free library” for homes, it’s the same concept only with a variety of items to share. Typical items you might find in a blessing box are:

  • Canned food
  • Dried food (like flour or pancake mix)
  • Books
  • Leaflets, fliers, information
  • Community news
  • Loose change
  • Salt and spices
  • Deodorant/shaving cream
  • Sanitizing gel

If your blessing box is the first in your neighborhood, it’s wise to write instructions inside the box. For example, you could write “take a little, give a little” (also read my article on blessing bags).  You can also create specific instructions if you’re leaving food from your garden (2 vegetables per person).

How To Make A Blessing Box

If you’re handy, making a blessing box is a fun afternoon project. If you’re not good with power tools, it won’t be difficult to find someone who is (and there are premade options that look really nice).

Because the box is relatively small, you won’t need many materials. Possible materials could be recycled from:

  • Used pallets
  • Scraps from a construction site (wood, screws, and nails)
  • Roofing scraps (for the blessing box roof)
  • Salvage yard

A glass or clear plastic door allows people to look inside without having to open the door (this is great for passersby and people in cars). Make sure to put a roof over the top of the box so water doesn’t ruin the gifts inside.

The box can stand on a simple wooden fence post. To ensure it’s stability, dig a deep hole and use quick drying cement to hold it in place.

A layer of paint can help make your blessing box hold up better in a wet or humid climate – be sure to design and paint the box in good taste (neutral colors) as you don’t want it to be an eye-sore for the rest of your community.

7 Reasons You Need A Blessing Box

Now that you know what a blessing box is and you know how to make one, read through this list of reasons you should have one.

1. Thoughtful

Having a blessing box is about others! It’s a way to consider the lives of your neighbors and to help those in need.

People who host a blessing box on their property rarely take from it. Instead, they share things they don’t need and provide common items that most people find useful.

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You can even write letters to visitors and tell them about your life!

2. Builds Community

If you’re looking to build a strong community a blessing box is a great way to share with the people around you. It may take some time for others to get involved but your neighbors will likely contribute to the box as well.

Remember the days when neighbors used to stop by and ask for some sugar or salt? Your front-yard box will bring back those days (without the knock on your door!).

3. Conversation Starter

Want to meet people in your community? Your blessing box will get a lot of questions.

  • What is it?
  • Why do you have it?
  • Can anyone take from it or add to it?

It will take some explaining early on, but your blessing box will be a conversations starter. Even the postman will stop and ask about it.

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4. Helps Others In Private

Even though your blessing box is in public, it can be a discrete way to share with others. Many people in the U.S.A. are discouraged from asking for help, so they don’t do it – it’s part of being in a country that prides itself in being independent.

However, you might be surprised that many of the visitors to your box visit after it’s dark. They can take or add to the blessing box without people watching them (people hate to feel judged).

Because you don’t lock the box at night, visitors will come at various times!

5. Encourages Contributions

When neighbors understand the purpose of the blessing box, it will encourage them to share as well. Of course, you don’t want “giving” to become competitive, but many people have an excess of food and books in their homes, yet they hold it for years.

When we observe others who are sharing, we tend to want give as well – it’s human nature.

6. Inexpensive

Looking for an inexpensive way to share with others? Giving to others doesn’t have to be costly. Finished books, and veggies from the garden, and canned food are relatively inexpensive and they can go a long way to help others.

Everyone enjoys fresh fruit and a good book. Add a monthly newsletter and share with your community what’s on your mind (a community newsletter takes time, not money).

7. It’s Easy

A blessing box is easy and it’s a low maintenance way to help others in your community. If you’re busy – like most people – a blessing box won’t take much time out of your day. It runs itself and allows you to clean out your pantry and share with others.

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A blessing box is a simple way to provide outreach to your community. It can be added to your front yard in a way that looks nice and is respectful of your neighbors (no need to bring down property values).

Evening joggers, dog walkers, and people driving by will look inside for a good book or for some extra cake mix. If done correctly, your community will participate as well and you’ll have an abundance of things to share. You’ll have an opportunity to reach many people.

Because so few people ask for help, we never fully understand what others are going through. Even though your blessing box will be in public view, it can be discrete (for example at night).

Help others and watch them return the favor to others!