If you’ve passed by the Moab Valley Multicultural Center (MVMC) lately, you may have noticed a new fixture located just inside their bright blue fence. It looks like a cabinet on a post, its contents visible through the cabinet’s glass face. It bears the inscription “blessing box.”
The MVMC, located at 156 N. 100 West, is home to Moab’s first blessing box, a space where commonly needed goods may be freely donated and freely taken.
The blessing box project was spearheaded by Laresha Denton as part of a substance use recovery program service project. Denton said she got the idea from her own experience with difficult times and the struggle of “having to ask for every little need.”
“The boxes are for anyone in need,” she said. “It’s a ‘take what you need and leave what you can’ idea.”
Day-to-day survival needs are what Denton would most like to see placed in the blessing box.
Bottles of water, hygiene products, formula and diapers, and packaged foods such as crackers are some of her suggestions.
Denton said she reached out to local construction companies for scrap material to build the blessing box.
“New Star General Contractors supervisor was a big help on not only donating but helping with the construction,” she said.
She also gave credit to companies Ziwick and Red Rock Earth Movers, adding that 85 percent of the material used in construction was donation-based.
Denton said that others in the community have supported her blessing box project, notably the MVMC agreeing to host the blessing box. She said Sara Melnicoff, the director of local nonprofit Moab Solutions, has also been helpful, along with others in the community, including her mother Claudia Bissett and sister Lanette Denton. She said she has been offered storage space if she receives too many donations for the blessing box to hold at one time.
“My mom has already donated over $150 worth of stuff to make hygiene kits,” Denton said.
Denton said she hopes her project will not only help people but also raise awareness in the community of the struggles some face to meet their basic needs.
She plans to set up another blessing box at the River of Life Christian Fellowship, 2651 Arroyo Road.