Blessings sometimes come in small packages — and boxes.
Roman Espinoza decided he wanted to give back to his community after taking a human services class at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, N.Y., where his teacher assigned a presentation where each student would discuss an epidemic.
Espinoza chose nutrition. Through his research, Espinoza, who recently retired after 25 years in the U.S. Army, said he was surprised to find that his school had a food pantry.
“Just being naive, I thought that if you had money to go to school, you had money to eat. I came to realize very quickly, that wasn’t true,” Espinoza told InsideEdition.com. “I realized there are adults who have to choose to drive to school or get something to eat."
Espinoza decided to donate to the food pantry, but looked to take it one step further, building one for his front lawn.
“I went to Home Depot. I did all the cutting at the store and then I took it home and started building,” Espinoza said. “We stocked it ourselves and of course the neighbors wanted to know what it was and I told them and then people were calling and asking if they could donate.”
The box, which has been in place for six weeks now, holds several non-perishable goods and necessities, like toothpaste and toilet paper.
On the glass front of the box, hangs a sign that reads: “Take what you need, leave what you can. Above all else be blessed.”
The community has been doing just that.
“People are definitely using it. We’ve had to replenish it at least every other day. No one has come by and taken advantage. They just take what they need,” Espinoza said.
He said the box is definitely meeting a need.
“This is just a short term fix to a very long term problem,” Espinoza said. “It’s open 24/7. You don’t need paperwork or money. You just go to the box and get what you need.”
He’s now helping neighbors who have joined his cause. On Sunday, he built a blessing box for another neighbor’s lawn. On Tuesday, he plans to assist in assembling one more.
“Nobody should ever go hungry,” Espinoza said. “I think it’s important to give back to the community. People just need to know where to go sometimes until things get better.”