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Tuggeranong youth on a mission with their 'Blessing Box'

Tuggeranong youth on a mission with their 'Blessing Box'

Tuggeranong youth on a mission with their 'Blessing Box'

9 January 2019

The Blessing Box at Tuggeranong Corps was the initiative of the corps' youth, who constructed, painted and created signage for the box and placed it on the wall outside the corps. 

By Jessica Morris

Tuggeranong Salvos youth know that mission starts at home, and have taken initiatives to support their community by starting a “Blessing Box”, which provides non-perishable food items, toiletries and winter clothing to people struggling to get by.

“The corps’ doors are not always open when people need help or want to support the community, so the Blessing Box is accessible 24 hours a day,” says Corps Officer Major Colin Maxwell. 

“People can come in an emergency out of hours, or leave food at their convenience. The Blessing Box is positive and potentially a lifeline for people in need.”

The Blessing Box was initiated by the corps’ youth after they became aware of the amount of people who access the Salvos’ welfare services. They believe it is a tangible way they can make a difference.

“I believe our youth want to live out the mission of Christ and the Army,” says youth leader Emma Clarke. “However, they sometimes don’t know how to do this, or don’t know where to start. Through making the Blessing Box, our youth have been informed about the needs of our community and given a practical way that they can help.”

The concept for the Blessing Box (pictured right) was spawned in March 2017, when members of the youth team saw the idea on Facebook. The teens already hold a mission night once a month and have previously participated in packing Christmas hampers and taken part in Operation Christmas Child. The youth constructed, painted and created signage for the Blessing Box, and placed it on the wall outside the corps.

The corps has embraced the Blessing Box with enthusiasm, and corps members are encouraged to bring an item for the ministry every Sunday. The corps knitting group also fills the box with beanies and scarfs to help people get through Canberra’s bone-chilling winters.

“The Blessing Box is one way our youth group, and rest of our church, can participate in the Army’s mission to work for justice by joining God’s work to build a fairer world where all can thrive,” says Emma.

Locals and community organisations have also leaped on board, including the Canberra Period Project, and the corps has received many letters from people both giving and receiving items, telling them how appreciated the ministry is.

A sign near the box states, “Take what you need and give what you can”, summing up the twofold blessings of giving and receiving the items that find their way into the Blessings Box.

“I have seen people from the community walking from Woolworths and dropping off some items on the way to their car. It is great to see the Tuggeranong community work with us to help those who are in need,” says Emma.

As the Blessing Box has grown in popularity, challenges have also arisen and the corps has implemented a ‘Blessings Box team’ to prevent vandalism and keep the box restocked. With this system in place, they are now looking at how they can share the Gospel through the inclusion of tracts.

The commitment of the youth to live, love and fight alongside their community shows just how easy it is for a generational Army to reach out and use what they have to transform their communities.

“The contents placed in the Blessing Box are put there with an intention, and that intention includes a heartfelt desire for people to know that God can meet them at their point of need,” says Major Maxwell.

“We pray continually for those who make use of the Blessing Box and also give thanks for the generous hearts of those young people who initiated the idea and keep it going.”

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