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elyob

New category: Blessing Boxes

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Blessing boxes are filled with donated, free nonperishable foods and personal hygiene products and left in random locations.   Blessing boxes are also known as blessing bags or little free pantries.  I like the latter as it reminds of me of the little free libraries.  The typical blessing box looks like a little free library.  The motto of the little free library might be Take One, Leave One.  The motto of the blessing box would be Take what you need, Leave what you can. 

 

Before being approached to post this item, I was unaware of the blessing box.  Hobo Larry recently created a new Waymarking group for the blessing box.  Hobo Larry is new to Waymarking but he is a veteran geocacher.  He asked me to present his idea here.

 

I have not yet seen a blessing box.  Checking the search engines, there are hundreds mentioned in the US and Canada.  However, each mention on the web refers to an individual box.  Unlike the little free libraries, I have not found a web site which includes lists of locations for the blessing boxes.  If I ask Google for blessing boxes nearest me, I get dozens of churches on a map but I doubt that any of those locations have a blessing box.  As waymarkers, we have visited many local church sites.  Perhaps some of you can already think of blessing boxes that you have seen.  After a little research on line, the nearest confirmed blessing box is a three-hour drive for me.

 

I do not know if there are blessing boxes outside of the US and Canada.  I do not know if waymarkers will find this forum discussion interesting.  I do know that there are dozens of web sites describing how to create and where to place a blessing box.

 

 

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I think Larry has a great idea for a category.  As a hobo, he more than most appreciates these Blessing Boxes. We frequently donate food to the ones in my community, and I've seen quite a few in my travels. I think it's a great idea for a new category. 

 

Edit: I often see Blessing Boxes next to Little Free Libraries. I've also seen Blessing Boxes mistaken for LFL.  A couple of weeks ago, I believe one had a note saying "Food donations only, please. No books."

 

 

Bradford Village LFL and Blessing Box.jpg

CO LFL and Blessing Box.png

Edited by Max and 99
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I didn't realize earlier that the group was also aiming to include Homeless Shelters and Halfway Houses. I support a category for Blessing Boxes, but not the other two. Sorry. 

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2 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

I didn't realize earlier that the group was also aiming to include Homeless Shelters and Halfway Houses. I support a category for Blessing Boxes, but not the other two. Sorry. 

 

Thank you for letting us know that he has changed the category. 

 

Thank you very much for the photographs.

 

 I have let Hobo Larry know that his ideas are being considered on the forums.

Edited by elyob

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This might be the kind of structure that does not work in places where the temperature is below freezing for four months of the year.

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The potential category will focus only on blessing boxes, I hope.

Edited by elyob

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I have seen one little free pantry, and in the right area it's a very good idea. "Blessing boxes" would not be a term I can imagine being used in Australia, as we are a far more secular society than the USA. It reminds me of The Handmaidens Tale, as that's the first time I heard the expression 'blessed' and it sounds creepy to me now.

The one I have seen was next to a LFL and was well stocked. But as it was in a fairly expensive suburb to live in I do wonder how many of the really needy visited it. Still I understand why it was there; it's the same reason that I put a LFL (and TB Hotel) outside my house; so that I can maintain it easily.

I wonder how well the food lasts after a spell of hot weather. But how well the box is insulated and sheltered (shaded) would affect that.

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1 minute ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have seen one little free pantry, and in the right area it's a very good idea. "Blessing boxes" would not be a term I can imagine being used in Australia, as we are a far more secular society than the USA. It reminds me of The Handmaidens Tale, as that's the first time I heard the expression 'blessed' and it sounds creepy to me now.

The one I have seen was next to a LFL and was well stocked. But as it was in a fairly expensive suburb to live in I do wonder how many of the really needy visited it. Still I understand why it was there; it's the same reason that I put a LFL (and TB Hotel) outside my house; so that I can maintain it easily.

I wonder how well the food lasts after a spell of hot weather. But how well the box is insulated and sheltered (shaded) would affect that.

I would prefer a secular name for this category. 

Use of the word Blessed as is often used in  The Handmaid's Tale certainly evokes a creepy feeling for me too. 😕

 

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1 hour ago, Max and 99 said:

I would prefer a secular name for this category. 

Use of the word Blessed as is often used in  The Handmaid's Tale certainly evokes a creepy feeling for me too. 😕

I was having a friendly on line chat with an American recently and when we ended our conversation they wished me a blessed day. NO-ONE has ever said that to me before, and I didn't know how to take it. Huge culture gap there. But I knew they meant it as a friendly thing, so I just sent a smiley face back, because I didn't know how else to respond to that. There is a lot of presumption in that term...as well as it being creepy.

Far better to call them Little Free Pantries. A less controversial and more international term, accepted better across different cultures..

Edited by Goldenwattle
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9 hours ago, Alfouine said:

Why Hobo Larry does not present his own idea ?

 

I suspect that Hobo Larry is not a Premium Member or has very limited access to the internet, etc.  In the forums, I am pleased to represent the Little Free Pantries potential-category.

 

I am pretty sure that Hobo Larry is able to read the forums but is likely unable to contribute to the forums.  Not all of us can afford the access needed to play this Waymarking game.

Edited by elyob

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We now need to consider what is the best term to use for little free pantries in Europe, hoping that they do exist there.

Edited by elyob

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4 minutes ago, Alfouine said:

I found this in France http://www.partagetonfrigo.fr/2013-2/

 Partage ton frigo = Share your fridge

 

Formidable!

 

That give us three continents.  I wish we could use <<Partage ton frigo>> as the category title but English is the language of...

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In the German area of Europe, there are different terms for such places. One is "Offener Kühlschrank" (Open Fridge) or "Öffentlicher Kühlschrank" (Public fridge) and another one is "FairTeiler", which is an artificial word made up of "fair" and "teilen" (share) and sounds like "Verteiler" (distributor). There are several here in Vienna, Austria, but probably hard (if at all) to find in the province. Fortunately, there's a map at https://foodsharing.de/karte.

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9 minutes ago, PISA-caching said:

In the German area of Europe, there are different terms for such places. One is "Offener Kühlschrank" (Open Fridge) or "Öffentlicher Kühlschrank" (Public fridge) and another one is "FairTeiler", which is an artificial word made up of "fair" and "teilen" (share) and sounds like "Verteiler" (distributor). There are several here in Vienna, Austria, but probably hard (if at all) to find in the province. Fortunately, there's a map at https://foodsharing.de/karte.

That has a universal sound to it: Food sharing boxes

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2 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

That has a universal sound to it: Food sharing boxes

 

Yes, but elyob mentioned "personal hygiene products" in the inital posting and there are also places called "Offener Kleiderschrank" (open wardrobe). So we should find a term that includes all of that. Also, I learned that the foodsharing locations are for everyone, but the open wardrobe only for people  in need. So, the future waymarks should clearly state, who is allowed to pick up the things there. And we should try to limit crosspostings with the Permanent Charity Donation Locations category.

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Without success, Hobo Larry already approached the Permanent Charity Donation Locations category for inclusion.  Permanent Charity Donation Locations waymarks should be excluded from this new category.

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I've never seen a Blessing Box accept clothing. Those donations would take up too much space!

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14 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I was having a friendly on line chat with an American recently and when we ended our conversation they wished me a blessed day. NO-ONE has ever said that to me before, and I didn't know how to take it. Huge culture gap there. But I knew they meant it as a friendly thing, so I just sent a smiley face back, because I didn't know how else to respond to that. There is a lot of presumption in that term...as well as it being creepy.

Far better to call them Little Free Pantries. A less controversial and more international term, accepted better across different cultures..

 

so you'd be upset if someone said "Bless you" after you sneezed??

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38 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

I've never seen a Blessing Box accept clothing. Those donations would take up too much space!

 

the church that hosts our Scout Troop has one in their parking lot. It has some canned food, baby formula, diapers. Depends some on what they get donated. I've seen Band-Aids in there.

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5 hours ago, vulture1957 said:

 

so you'd be upset if someone said "Bless you" after you sneezed??

I wouldn't be upset, although I rarely hear it these days. Gesundheit is an alternative sometimes heard. Expressions such as "God bless you" are virtually never heard in Australia. We are far more secular in nature than America, and religion does not play a major role in the lives of much of the population here. Most people never go to church, except maybe as an invite to a wedding. And the person getting married in the church might never go to church either, except for their wedding. Many who have some beliefs regard it as a personal, private thing and not necessary to discuss. The largest tick on the last census was no religion. 'No Religion' covers many things from Atheism through to believe in a God, but how the person believes is personal to them and they don't have the need or want to belong to a religion. Little Free Pantries is a more acceptable and understood term here. A "Blessing Box" would likely not be understood. Personally if I had not heard it here with an explanation, I would have thought of those Catholic Grottoes as found in Catholic countries with a blue dressed Mary and guessed that meant there was a box there for money donations. I would not have associated it with a place to donate food. It's a great idea, but "Pantry" translates better internationally.

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22 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

I've never seen a Blessing Box accept clothing. Those donations would take up too much space!

 

Yes, I think these places better fit in the  Permanent Charity Donation Locations category, although I would love to see boxes, where you can also place gloves, scarves, woolen hats, warm shoes etc., especially in the cold time of the year.

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these are not for leaving your donations. They are filled like a LFL, and people can come and take what they need.

Would NOT be a fit in Permanent Charity Donation Locations.

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2 hours ago, vulture1957 said:

these are not for leaving your donations. They are filled like a LFL, and people can come and take what they need.

Would NOT be a fit in Permanent Charity Donation Locations.

But LFL are filled with donations.

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Going through all 521 Permanent Charity Donation Locations, I found no little free pantries.  I do wonder how many pantry submissions were denied.

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Here's A LF Pantry in Australia. https://www.facebook.com/ascotvalelittlefreepantry/

I would worry about leaving bread in it, unless there is someone taking daily care of it.

 

Here's some links to those in America. Maybe there is more than one group: Blessed Boxes & LF Pantries: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/culture/article/2016/08/02/little-free-pantry-one-communitys-way-helping-people-need

https://www.facebook.com/littlefreepantry/

 

Here's the only one I have seen. It's in Canberra where I live. It was well stocked when I saw it. There's a cache in the LFL beside it, and I was visiting that and also dropping off a book. https://the-riotact.com/little-pantries-have-canberra-origins-down-a-quiet-neighbourly-street/284697

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I have encountered at least five little free pantries published in 2017 in the Free Community Book Exchanges category.  If they are still accepted there, we may not need a new category.

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I visited one that the WMO thought was a LFL but was instead only for food. 

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On 11/27/2019 at 5:13 AM, elyob said:

I have encountered at least five little free pantries published in 2017 in the Free Community Book Exchanges category.  If they are still accepted there, we may not need a new category.

We can also consider that officers of this category did not pay attention and made a mistake validating these waymarks, there is nothing in common with books except the shape of the box.

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6 hours ago, Alfouine said:

We can also consider that officers of this category did not pay attention and made a mistake validating these waymarks, there is nothing in common with books except the shape of the box.

I agree.

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So as long as it doesn't have wheels, it' can be waymarked in the Permanent Charity Donations category.

If it does have wheels....

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After going through all 524 entries in Permanent Charity Donation Locations,  I see three different types of waymarks:

 

Donation Bins

Storefronts

Recycling Stations

 

The category description  reads: "Permanent locations used to collect clothing, household goods, non-perishable food, and other items for charity."  

 

None of the waymarks I see have anything to do with food donations.  Most of them are donations to organizations which resell the items to benefit their mission.  

 

These are not Little Free Librairies by any means.

 

The Little Free Pantry organization has a website http://www.littlefreepantry.org 

 

Where I live, Galveston County, Texas, there are several of these locations.  

 

These are 24 hour, anonymous  food banks.  Used by people in need when they do not have access to the other resources .   Two that I see on a frequent basis are stocked solely by community donation, with no affiliation to any business or church.  

 

If these should be considered Permanent Charity Donation Locations then Little Free Libraries should be in the same category as Libraries.

 

My $0.02 worth.

 

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11 minutes ago, jhuoni said:

After going through all 524 entries in Permanent Charity Donation Locations,  I see three different types of waymarks:

 

Donation Bins

Storefronts

Recycling Stations

 

The category description  reads: "Permanent locations used to collect clothing, household goods, non-perishable food, and other items for charity."  

 

None of the waymarks I see have anything to do with food donations.  Most of them are donations to organizations which resell the items to benefit their mission.  

 

These are not Little Free Librairies by any means.

 

The Little Free Pantry organization has a website http://www.littlefreepantry.org 

 

Where I live, Galveston County, Texas, there are several of these locations.  

 

These are 24 hour, anonymous  food banks.  Used by people in need when they do not have access to the other resources .   Two that I see on a frequent basis are stocked solely by community donation, with no affiliation to any business or church.  

 

If these should be considered Permanent Charity Donation Locations then Little Free Libraries should be in the same category as Libraries.

 

My $0.02 worth.

 

Well said, and I agree.

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Little Free Library waymarks were published in the Libraries category before the newer category was created.

Edited by elyob

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