Sometimes, even small acts of kindness can go a very long way. It’s thanks to people such as Roman Espinoza that the world can be a brighter place where we all care for one another, even if it’s about total strangers.
Roman Espinoza, a 46-year-old army veteran from Watertown, New York, decided to do something special for his local community.
He knew that there were plenty of poor and homeless people in his neighborhood, and he also knew that they needed help and were more often hungry than not. That’s why he decided to construct his own food pantry on his own lawn. People who are in need of food are always allowed to take something from the ‘blessing box’, as he likes to call it. It mostly holds canned food such as beans and soup, as well as pasta and some essentials such as sour cream.
“Whether you’re taking or giving, you can just go to the blessing box,” the man said to CNN. “There’s not a lock on it — it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The veteran was inspired by a similar action at the local community college.
The man decided to enroll in a couple of Human Services classes at the local community colleges after he returned home from a deployment, and he saw that there was a small pantry with a number of free food items inside that was meant for students who couldn’t afford a snack or a meal. He thought it was such an amazing gesture and concept and decided to try and replicate that in front of his own home.
“I thought, ‘Man, these adults that are spending time taking classes can’t eat every day.'”
Even though the box started with food and items from Roman, there’s a whole community that regularly donates food and other necessities.
Roman is so grateful that other people are also donating food for the less privileged, and he feels honored that he inspired others to do so.
“The box itself is for the community and it’s sustained by the community,” he said. “The community, the neighborhood and my block have been really supportive.”
“We try and put stuff in there that makes sense — toothpaste, toothbrushes, band aids….some soap and shampoo.”
“We don’t know who uses it — sometimes people feel like they are embarrassed to use the box in the middle of the day,” Roman told.
Roman has rallied an entire community to show their generous side, and it’s absolutely heartwarming to see.
At first, people started donating stuff into Roman’s own blessing box, but it definitely didn’t stop there. In fact, the veteran had a bunch of people over who asked him to build their own blessing box! By spreading the word and the idea of these amazing food pantries, people can truly make a significant difference in this community.
“I’ve gotten a couple of requests from people around town for boxes for their property,” Espinoza told. “With any luck, we’ll have a few around town where people can be made aware of them and make use of them. Watertown, New York, in the next five years, could be known as the city of blessing boxes.”
It didn’t take long before blessing boxes started popping up across the entire town.
“Watertown residents have just gotten excited about the whole project … about helping the community,” Roman recalls.
After just two months, over twenty of these boxes have been built in Watertown. Roman has also found a lot of support, not only from the community but from business as well. The local Home Depot store, for example, decided to sponsor all of the wood needed to build new boxes.
It’s amazing how one man with an idea was the start of a huge difference for the poor in an entire city.
“Initially, when my wife and I were talking about [the blessing boxes] we were talking about having eight to 10,” the man said.
“But we’ve gotten more than 20 now and it would be nice to see the numbers double.”
We can only hope that this amazing concept of blessing boxes start popping up in every city. Absolutely heartwarming to see!
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