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Randolph County 4-H addresses food insecurity with blessing box

  • Local youths decorate and stock a blessing box at a recent 4-H workshop. Back row, from left, are 4-H volunteer Charlene Stewart, Breanna Autry, David Koester, Kinley Lauer and Breckon Lauer. Front row, from left, are Finley Demond, Addalyn Lauer, Annabelle Pearce, Micah Sattler, Leah Sattler and Elijah Sattler.

    Local youths decorate and stock a blessing box at a recent 4-H workshop. Back row, from left, are 4-H volunteer Charlene Stewart, Breanna Autry, David Koester, Kinley Lauer and Breckon Lauer. Front row, from left, are Finley Demond, Addalyn Lauer, Annabelle Pearce, Micah Sattler, Leah Sattler and Elijah Sattler.
    Courtesy of Randolph County 4-H

 
Submitted by Randolph County 4-H
updated: 10/6/2021 4:11 PM

According to Feeding America, one in 10 Illinois residents struggle with hunger. Happily, a new "blessing box" in Randolph County will help address food access in our community, at least.

During a recent community service project, Randolph County 4-H members cleaned, decorated and stocked items for a 4-H blessing box.

The Southern Illinoisan donated several newspaper display boxes to 4-H programs in Franklin, Perry, Randolph and Williamson counties to repurpose into blessing boxes. The blessing boxes will follow the philosophy "take what you need, leave what you can," as boxes are filled with donated nonperishable food items, hygiene products and household items that are in need.

Randolph County 4-H Coordinator Michaela Castens expressed appreciation for the work of her 4-H members.

"I am so proud of the youth who came out and donated their time and supplies to help the betterment of the Sparta and Randolph County community by working on this blessing box," she said. "We hope that this box can truly make a difference, and that the community itself will help with this ongoing project," said Castens.

The blessing box will be located inside the Sparta Police Department. The most needed items included canned proteins, vegetables, soups, shelf-stable meals, boxed pasta, and cereals. Hygiene items of greatest need are shampoos and conditioners, dental care products, deodorants, and feminine hygiene products. Household items that can be donated include toilet paper, power towels, diapers, wipes, and garbage bags.

Items that cannot be accepted in the blessing box include homemade food, opened packages, glass jars, perishable items, dented canned goods, or expired products.

To learn more about Randolph County 4-H, contact Michaela Castens at mes379@illinois.edu or (618) 443-4364.