(In response to ‘Blessing Box: ‘Take what you need, leave what you can’, The Citizen, July 10, page 1)
Hi, my name is Karyn Milligan, and I am the Director of the OCEF Food Pantry which is located here in Ortonville at St. Anne Church.
I was very happy to read about the “Blessing Box” which has been put up at the senior citizen center, but there are a few concerns I have about some wording which appeared in both articles.
The first thing I would like to remind our whole community, the article stated, “the box was built to help people in the community that are in need of food.” Please remember, OCEF has been taking care of our at-risk families since the 1980’s, and to my knowledge we have never, ever turned anyone away who needed food. We have many wonderful people who work almost daily keeping our pantry supplied, clean and ready for those in need. People are welcome to come for emergency food, or they can sign up and become a regular monthly client. Our efforts to take care of our community have been supported very well through generous donations by our community, and we hope to continue to do so for many more years. The second statement was “we need something like this here”, again, I would like to remind the community that OCEF is here for anyone who needs food. Especially when the Covid pandemic hit its highest peak, we had many, many requests for help from outside our community, and we were able to help them because of the generosity of our awesome community.
Lastly, comes the safety issue which could arise. Please, if you are taking an item from the box, please check the expiration date, and especially if it is a can that it does not bulge or is severely dented. We check every item that comes into our pantry for these specific items, and we hope everyone who participates follow the safety precautions as stated.
I too, would like to thank everyone involved with this project, every little thing we can do to help our neighbor in need is a blessing. What makes this blessing box so special is that the person, either donating, or receiving can be assured their identity will be protected. I know from working with so many people for so many years that asking for help is a very hard thing to do, so the more we can respect their identity and help them with the promise of anonymity is a “blessing.”
Thank you beautiful community, and my door is always open to everyone.
Peace and blessings,