GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Near Glens Falls High School, a box stands on Sherman Avenue. Inside, visitors will find cans of soup, packs of tissues, and even some books – all to go to whoever needs them.
The Blessing Box at the Cavalry’s Family Life Center church has been in place since early September. It was put there by Navaeh Howe, a Lake George High School student who put the box together as a Silver Award Girl Scouts project.
“I chose to do the Blessing Box to help the community, because the Silver Award is based on helping the community without getting money,” said Howe. “I asked Hannaford and Home Depot and Lowe’s, and they donated all of the wood. I just thought of the idea to help the homeless and those in poverty.”
Howe cited research showing that homelessness in the Glens Falls area has risen as much as 35% since the COVID-19 pandemic – making a resource for the unhoused an obvious choice. The Girl Scout has kept the box stocked with donations. On Tuesday evening, she brought new canned goods and hygiene items from Lake George that were closing their doors for the winter.
Cavalry was chosen as the box’s home due to its proximity to the school, WAIT House, and plenty more. Pastor Bill Harrington has seen plenty of activity in the weeks it’s stood in place.
“There was one day it was full, and then the next day, half of the stuff was gone. By the next day, the box was completely empty,” Harrington said. “People are definitely coming by and using it.”
Some items may stick around for a while, but others go quickly. Packets of ramen are popular – Harrington guesses it’s because they only need hot water in order to cook, and can be eaten even without that. Canned goods can be good, but don’t help if the person in need doesn’t have a can opener. Hygiene items are popular, too.
Cavalry church runs a food pantry that serves 11,000 families in a given year – but even for them, the box is a boon. The pantry only runs on Tuesdays, with leftovers passed out at the end of the night. The box is where it is 24/7. Harrington cited data from his wife, who works with the homeless, that there are at least 20 unhoused individuals living in the woods around Glens Falls.
For Howe, the box became a family project. Her grandfather helped her put the Blessing Box together over the course of a weekend. One Sunday, Howe visited the Cavalry congregation to tell them about it, with her grandfather and more family members in tow.
“Public speaking isn’t really hard for me, personally, because I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. There were a lot of adults, though, and that got me a little nervous,” she said. “I kept looking around the room, and people kept nodding their heads. I saw my aunt in the crowd, and she gave me a thumbs up.”
The Blessing Box is open at all hours at Cavalry’s Family Life Center, 100 Sherman Ave. in Glens Falls. Anyone who wants to donate non-perishable food, hygiene goods, and whatever else may be helpful is welcome to do so on their own time. The box will be there.