‘Blessing Boxes’ bring food, items to Riley Co. people in need

Health Check

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Cristine Glendening knew food insecurity was a serious problem in her community.

So in 2017, she got to work.

“A lot of the programs that we have in Manhattan are largely income-based, but that leaves a gap for the people who may not qualify for food assistance, but yet still have trouble getting food,” Glendening said.

Glendening built two Blessing Boxes in Riley County, which still stand as of August of 2020. These boxes are sponsored by local organizations who fill them with food and essential items.

With the motto “take what you need, leave what you can,” people can do just that at absolutely no cost.

“I don’t think people should have to choose between getting their car fixed so they can go to work and eating,” Glendening said.

In 2020, the Food and Farm Council of Riley County and the City of Manhattan saw these boxes as an opportunity and decided to become involved.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, eleven more boxes have popped up in Manhattan, Riley, Randolph and Leonardville, all sponsored by local organizations.

Despite this accomplishment, for Glendening, this is a passion project that has only just begun.

“A big part of health and safety is access to food as well as to proper hygiene items, so that’s why I think it’s really important that programs like these are supported,” Glendening said.

To sponsor a box, local organizations are asked to make a $75 payment for supplies to build the box. Anyone interested in donating nonperishable or essential items can leave them directly in a box, or can send funds to the Riley County Health Department.

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