Blessing boxes need your help

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

“Take what you need, bring what you can, above all be blessed.” These words are written on each of the 25 “blessing boxes” posted throughout the Pee Dee area by the nonprofit Family Mission Center, with the clear intent of inspiring generosity and helping those in need. However, many of these boxes go days at a time with no donations inside, and FMC co-founder Tammy Robinson is asking for your help to change that.

“Our hope is that people will donate non-perishable food items, things that can help families in need make it to their next payday. … A lot of the families we serve are those that just fall through the cracks, like working families that live on a very limited income. Usually by the end of the month, the first thing to run out is the food budget,” says Robinson.

Photos courtesy of Family Mission Center

Since many working families either don’t qualify for public assistance or will not go through the invasive application process, they don’t have a safety net during lean times when their hours are cut or they miss work due to illness, family matters, etc. Robinson says the blessing boxes are intended to help these people when they need it most.

“The idea behind it is that people can anonymously bring items to put in the box, and people can come and take what they need,” she says.

Volunteers build the boxes and post them in visible locations around Darlington, Hartsville, Florence, Cheraw, Kingstree, and other places in the hopes that they’ll be spotted, stocked up by folks with good intentions, and used by those truly in need.

Robinson says the Family Mission Center has received heartfelt notes from people who didn’t know where their family’s next meal was coming from…until they spied a blessing box.

“Last year around the holidays, a mother wrote us a letter saying that due to situations with her family, they weren’t able to be together. She didn’t know what she was going to fix (for her kids) to make the day special. Then she saw one of the little white boxes along the road. She stopped and found enough food in there to make a nice meal,” says Robinson.

Months later, when the woman was back on her feet, she contacted Family Mission Center seeking a way to pay that kindness forward.

“She asked for a complete list of all the blessing boxes and she went around and put food in every one that we had, because she was so grateful for what that box meant to her that day,” Robinson says. “A lot of times I don’t know who is blessed more – the person who is giving, or the person who is receiving.”

Donations of in-date and unopened non-perishable food items are always needed by local food banks like The Lord Cares, Family Mission Center, and pantry charities in local churches. If you can’t arrange to visit one of these during their open hours, consider making a donation to one of the blessing boxes, which are always open and usually in need of refilling.

Robinson says the Family Mission Center is also seeking a building to rent in Darlington for use as a resource center and stock room for their food donation activities. Contact them if you have any leads on suitable properties, or would like to support their efforts.

The Family Mission Center is located at 1206 Harry Byrd Highway in Darlington. For more information, visit them on Facebook or call 843-307-8876.

Updated List of Current FMC Blessing Boxes in Darlington County

BYRDTOWN
2662 Byrdtown Road
Hartsville SC 29550

Strong City Church
757 Wire Road
Darlington, SC
(by the entrance off of Billy Farrow)

Mechanicsville Baptist Church
2364 Cashua Ferry Rd
Darlington, SC
(Across the road from the Main Church building)

Warming Hearts Ministries
200 Barfield Drive
Darlington, SC
(Off Spring Street-near High school)

Darlington County Park
Corner of Mount Claire Road and North Governor Williams Highway
Dovesville, SC 29540

Allstate
314 West Carolina Ave
Hartsville, SC 29550

Hartsville Fire Station
111 7th Street
Hartsville, SC 29550

All for Christ Ministries
601 South 6th Street
Hartsville, SC 29550

Gum Branch Baptist Church
1504 Clyde Road
Hartsville S.C. 29550

In Memory of Sandra Lane Angel Box
1917 Fourteenth Street
Hartsville, SC 29550

Call to Life Ministries
304 West Jackson Street
Lamar, SC

Smallwood’s
3316 Oats Highway
Lamar, SC

Society Hill Church of God
378 Pressley Ave
Society Hill, SC

Author: Rachel Howell

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