Hi, my name is Maiharriese. I thought I would share my first blog by telling you a story about someone that I know. I think it might better help you understand why I love blessing boxes so much.

There was a lady who ended up separated from her husband with a six month old child. She had to move in with her parents. Her parents gave her six months to get herself a job and a place to stay. She was able to find a place and a decent job in five months time. She was moved out by six months of her arrival date to her parents house. Once she moved out she realized she was struggling to make ends meet. She had no car so she walked her daughter to daycare no matter the weather. She had no choice but to apply for government assistance to help feed her child. It was a very intensive, embarrassing, and invasively detailed process.

During the process she had to reveal her income, everything that she actually owned (which was nothing but her clothes) and at times it seemed her dignity. She found it very degrading to be valued, considered worthy, or truly in need by the number on her paycheck. There were times she cried herself to sleep because she knew she would have to go back to that government facility and beg for help. She was worried she would lose the job she worked so hard to get and keep because of all of the return visits to the county welfare office. There were times she was turned down because she may have forgotten to bring in one sheet of paper or filled out a form incorrectly. The employees at this facility were mostly very jaded from years of being overworked, undervalued and their service unrecognized.

Although she only needed the services for a short period of her life it was something she would never forget. She grew to be embarrassed to ask for help because she assumed that the process would be like the grueling, inhumane and invasive experience she had had with government assistance. As she got older she came to realize that it didn’t have to be that way. And that there were organizations who were more compassionate about how they handled her personal and private information. Being a natural caregiver, she wanted to try to find a way to help others.

For years she strived to find a way to help people without making them feel that their income was their only worth. After many years of trying different things that failed because they leaked God’s guidance. God gave her a mission after stumbling upon an article about a thing called a blessing box. That mission was to create a  blessing box network in Canton, Ohio. She had seen how it had united communities to help one another. There were no forms or appointments to get help.  She could also give back herself. This made her feel empowered and unashamed.

That woman is me.

Although I resisted God’s call to this mission in the beginning, I came to realize it was perfect for me. I never want to put someone in a place where they have to minimize their life to a stack of paperwork based on a number. Blessing boxes are there for anyone no matter how much money you have or how little money you have. You don’t have to fill out a form you don’t have to show how much money you make, you never have to bring your lease or mortgage information. You go, you take what you need and you leave what you can.

Live long and prosper.

by Maiharriese Wooden