Project proves to be a blessing

Blessing Box

                                 Project proves to be a blessing

                                                                 Students team up with local business to create a Blessing Box

MAGNESS, AR — Friday the 13th could be considered an unlucky day for those who are superstitious; however, Friday, December 13, Melinda Talley of Magness lead a project that could turn an unlucky day into a blessing.

Talley teaches the Myers Davis Life Coaching Career-to-Work study class at Cedar Ridge High School in Newark, and four of her students assisted in making a Blessing Box for people in the community who may need a little help.

“Part of the curriculum for the semester was to introduce the students to service learning,” Talley said. “I thought what a fantastic way to implement a Blessing Box for the service-learning project.”

Maybe you’re hungry; maybe it’s not quite payday, and your baby needs diapers; maybe you just need a few things to get through a rough patch; or maybe you’ve lost your job, and you can’t feed your kids. Whatever the case may be, a simple project put together by Talley and her students could be a blessing.

Talley and her husband, Michael, own Talley’s Body Shop and Auto Sales in Magness. Marking their 10th year at this location, Talley said they have seen a need in the community.

“Michael and I had seen the idea about a Blessing Box in other communities and thought what a wonderful way to make food and other items accessible to the community 24/7.”

It had been discussed in the Talley household for several months, but it was the service-learning project that brought the idea to life and for their business to give back to the community. Dylan Zehr, Bobby Robinson, Brooke Stoner and Kyler Stewart of the Career-to-Work Study students from Talley’s class at Cedar Ridge High School came to help with the project.

“We started at the local Town and Country supermarket and Dollar General Store in Newark to purchase items to stock the Blessing Box,” Talley said. “We bought can vegetables, soups, chili, can meats, ravioli, spaghetti, juice, cereal, cake mix, muffin mix, Tuna Helper, macaroni and cheese dinners, pudding cups, applesauce, peanut butter, jelly, beans, rice, noodles, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter crackers, cereal and granola bars. Personal items, deodorant, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, small laundry detergent, loofa.  Baby items, diapers, wipes, baby shampoo. These are to just to name of a few.”

Cole Simmons, manager at Town and Country Supermarket in Newark believes the Blessing Box is a wonderful thing and plans to help keep it stocked.

“It’s a blessing indeed,” Simmons said. “This is a wonderful act by a local business that will benefit our community for a very long time to come. Town and Country is here to support this, and we hope to work with the Talleys in the near future to help make this a bigger success that it already is through event donations and drives throughout the coming year. It’s such a wonderful thing they have done.”

The students went to work painting and assembling the Blessing Box, and over the Christmas break Michael and two of the Talley’s children, Matthias and Micah, helped put the box up.

“The students did a great job and were excited to help,” Talley said. 

Talley’s Blessing Box is located just outside the fence on the east side of Talley’s Body Shop and Auto Sales at 8739 Harrison St, in Magness. To access the box, use Weston Street and pull in the driveway to the Blessing Box sitting next to the chain link fence. 

There has been a good response to the Blessing Box on Facebook, Talley said. She also emphasized that shopping local is important.

“I wish to convey to others the importance of shopping local, the brick and mortar stores,” Talley said. “It is our great customers and community that make the Blessing Box possible. Shopping local makes it possible for businesses to give back and support our communities.  It all comes full circle.  It is our customers who are the Blessing.”

Talley has taken on the responsibility of making sure the Blessing Box is stocked, but others can also donate to the Blessing Box. Talley suggests taking a permanent pen and marking a line through the barcode of the products before donating them.

“We at Talley’s will see that the box is stocked but would like to get the community involved,” Talley said. “If anyone would like to help stock items in the Blessing Box, we are stocking the box with nonperishable food items and essential daily items. Some items may need to be rotated in and out as needed due the season of the year. Juice may freeze in winter and stick deodorant may melt in heat of the summer. Items may be put directly in the box, or if it is full at the time, bring them to the office at Talley’s in the silver building, and items will be placed in the box as needed.”