MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Several “blessing boxes” in the Manhattan area are looking a little emptier than usual.

So what is a blessing box and why are they so important?

Some people don’t qualify for income-based aide, but still suffer from food insecurities. That’s where the blessing boxes come into play. They help bridge that gap and provide any community members with food and other life essentials.

Lately, rising food costs and pandemic after-effects are limiting the amount of donations made to the boxes. Sponsors like the Flint Hills Breadbasket are a huge help in keeping the boxes somewhat stocked, but patrons say even more help is needed.

“We do need a lot more sponsors, we do need more community involvement,” said Cristine Glendering, volunteer for Riley County Food and Farm Council. “The whole premise of this is ‘if you need an item, take an item; if you can leave an item, leave an item.'”

These little boxes fill a large need in the community. Some users even leave ‘thank you’ letters saying how much they appreciate the food. Blessing box patrons just want to spread the word about food insecurity and get as much help as possible.