There have been some heartwarming stories to emerge from the pandemic; stories of neighbors helping each other out. This is one of those stories.

Stephen Smith of Neptune saw people struggling to get by, living on unemployment after being left jobless by the coronavirus, so he decided to help. He built a small wooden box and put it at the end of his driveway and filled it with non-perishable food items. Smith calls it the “Blessing Box” and people are free to take whatever they need or donate whatever they have.

Smith told the Asbury Park Press that he got the idea from a TV show called Returning the Favor hosted by Mike Rowe. Smith put the box out in early December and then went on social media to let people know that it was available. First came the donations, and a lot of them came in, filling Smith’s dining room. But slowly people started coming to get the food. Smith says most of them come after dark because they’re embarrassed to be seen accepting the charity.

The Blessing Box was originally just going to stay up until Christmas, but due to the response, he plans on keeping it running until the pandemic is over. The giving has been contagious, too. 15-year-old Neptune resident Mary Jodry was inspired and set up her own box, but with different items. Her box has personal hygiene products in it for anyone in need. She told CBS 2 New York that she wanted to help but didn’t just want to do the exact same thing that Smith had done.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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