For those experiencing food insecurity on the Mid Shore, some assistance comes in the form of a little free pantry, a Blessing Box. They can be found throughout the area, many times at churches, and are filled with non-perishable food items and hygiene products. People are encouraged to “take what you need and give what you can.”
According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, in the United States are food insecure, meaning, every community in the country is impacted. Rural areas are especially subject to food insecurity. The Talbot County Hunger Coalition states that in 2023, one in 10 are food insecure in the county and that 43.3% of its students are receiving free or reduced priced school meals.
The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.
It isn’t terribly difficult to build a Blessing Box and etsy.com even sells pre-made boxes, but to build your own, turn to woodshopdiaries.com where Shara will provide step-by-step directions on how to do it yourself. Another resource is littlefreepantry.org for free downloadable plans.
If you know someone in need, send them to an area Blessing Box. For those who can, consider contributing to a Blessing Box at some of these area locations:
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
100 South Fifth Street, Denton
Carrie Soldano, administrative assistant at St. Luke’s, is enthusiastic about their Blessing Box, saying, “We love our Blessing Box!” The Blessing Box is located in the parking lot by the main office entrance and was erected by the St. Luke’s youth group a number of years prior to the pandemic. The church makes sure to keep it stocked as it gets used on a daily basis. Carrie said that the youth group and church leaders are currently in conversations about repairing, updating, and expanding the box. St. Luke’s also has a small food pantry in the church office that is accessible during office hours, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. To contribute, call 410-479-2171.
Park Lane Church of God
209 Park Lane, Federalsburg
Lead Pastor Ray Parsons says the Blessing Box is well used and supported. “The need is very real,” he admits. Many stop by to help keep the box filled. He adds, “After our Benevolent Team refills on Sunday, it is usually ‘slim pickings’ through the week. We can never keep it full. Any local help is appreciated.” To help, contact Ray at 410-310-2405.
144 Main Street, Preston
According to Pastor Paul Lewis, Bethesda UMC has “the BUSIEST Blessing Box on the Eastern Shore. It’s a 24/7 drive-through in terms of the high number of vehicles that come through the lot. And not only is it the busiest, but the lady who takes care of it, Donna Lane, is fastidious about checking dates on all the products for viability and keeping the box stocked (which she has to do MANY times a week). Also, we put out non-food items in the box: toiletries, socks, baby diapers. etc. And outside the box we’ll put shoes and other items that folks might need that are in good working order.” To contribute, call 410-610-8111.
Greater Impact Maryland/New Life Wesleyan Church
13699 Greensboro Road, Greensboro
The church encourages all to “Stock the Box” with soups and pasta meals.
302 Church Lane, Goldsboro
Very active in the area Food Pantry, a regional outreach, the church expressed that “All who are truly in need are welcome to come and receive” from its Blessing Box available outside the church.
New Beginnings UMC
12020 Central Avenue, Ridgely
For more details about this Blessing Box, call 410-443-8338.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
301 South Liberty Street, Centreville
In 2017, students from the Wye River Upper School established the Blessing Box in the churchyard and continue to maintain it. Parishioners donate food to it regularly.
Sassy River Market
120 East Cross Street, Galena
This popular shop has a Blessing Box and contributes regularly to it. Feel free to leave a little something inside as well.
120 South Cross Street, Chestertown
For more details about this Blessing Box, call 410-778-0633.
202 Peachblossom Road, Easton
Angel Nagel established the Blessing Box in late 2022 and it has been busy getting replenished nearly every day with the community’s support.
Trappe Town Office
4011 Powell Avenue, Trappe
A Blessing Box was originally established at the fire department in 2019 by now professional firefighter and Trappe resident, Josh Cherry, who was earning his Eagle Scout badge with Boy Scout Troop 532 at the time.
Christ Episcopal Church
107 Gay Street, Denton
The Blessing Box on site is managed by the His Hope Ministries, a homeless services organization. For more information, call 443-448-7297.