Local residents who temporarily need help getting food on the table now have another option, thanks to their neighbors.
Earlier this month, a blessing box was installed in Thibodaux. Blessing boxes are miniature food pantries where people can drop off non-perishable foods and other goods for others to pick up anonymously.
The idea came from Jill Krzycki, a member of the Live Healthy Thibodaux work group, according to Becky Gautreaux, area nutrition agent for the LSU AgCenter, the group’s lead facilitator.
“Jill, our workgroup member, saw it (blessing boxes) on the news or NPR,” Gautreaux said. “She is a small farmer, meaning that she has too much produce to just give to family and friends and too little to sell at the market. So, she asked, ‘how could we build something to give to needy families?’ ”
Krzycki said she is grateful to be part of this initiative and to help provide options for people who struggle feeding their families.
“Food insecurity is a serious issue even here in Thibodaux,” Kryzcki said. “Twelve percent of all households in Lafourche Parish experience food insecurity, it’s even higher since the start of the pandemic. Due to limited hours, our food banks are not as accessible.”
The idea seems to have caught on. One neighbor volunteered to help build the box, the Thibodaux Housing Authority funded it and Thibodaux Public Works installed it with an ADA-compliant ramp for accessibility.
There will be a sign with recommended donations such as non-perishables, baby items, toiletries and kid-friendly options like cereal and applesauce. Gautreaux asks folks to be mindful of expiration dates.
Located at Louis Streams Circle, a cul-de-sac off the corner of Robin Street and Barbier Avenue in Thibodaux, the blessing box is located conveniently near a bus stop. The nearby St. Genevieve Catholic Church is helping raise awareness of the project.
“The plan is to get this one up and running for now,” Gautreaux said. “And there is another church in Thibodaux who would like one. So the goal is to find funding, find volunteers to build it and to keep it running to remain sustainable.”
For more information, or to support the blessing box, residents can connect via the Live Healthy Thibodaux Facebook page, call at 446-1316 or email [email protected]
“We want it to be community-owned and supported by the community. It’s not owned by a certain entity or agency,” Gautreaux said. “It’s just to get neighbors helping neighbors.”