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Thorpe church builds blessing box for emergencies

St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church on Race St. in Jim Thorpe have started a blessing box, providing emergency essentials for those in need. The box is located right next to the Tollman House, across the street from St Mark’s office.

Karen Horvath, who works in the church office, started the Blessing Box with a red storage tote just outside of the church office on Race Street, and offered a variety of non-perishable food items and other essentials.

“People could just help themselves to whatever they needed,” she said.

As the need for such emergency food and other essential items grew, so did the need for more space. In December, after getting approval from the parish, she enlisted the help of parishioner Johnny Johnson to build the new Blessing Box.

“Anyone who needs something can take it, and people who want to donate can drop them off inside the box, “ said Horvath. Unlike the parish’s official food pantry, people do not need to call first or fill out any forms. They can take items or donate them anonymously.

“Some people feel ashamed at having to use this kind of help,” Horvath added. “This way, they can do it anonymously.”

The box on the left holds clothing items; shirts, shoes, underwear, some women’s suits, plus other essentials like bathroom tissue, diapers and personal hygiene products. The box on the right holds a variety of non-perishable food items, like tuna, vegetables, canned meats, canned fruit, pasta, cereal and a lot more.

Karen said the reaction has been positive.

“People have been amazing. We have had people donate food and clothing, even brand-new clothing.”

Johnson admitted that, at first, he was skeptical.

“My first thought was, ‘you put something like that outside, and it would be gone in five minutes.’ But Karen showed me the plastic bin they were currently using. Some people had taken some food items, but had not looted it. Some people had even donated money, putting it inside the bin.”

Johnson was convinced. He looked at the drawings Horvath had and spent about two months building the new boxes.

Anyone with questions can contact the parish office at 570-325-2241.

St. Mark's Blessing Box offering clothing and other essentials. JIM LOGUE JR./SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Karen Horvath and Johnny Johnson stand next to the Blessing Box outside the Tollman House, across from St. Mark's and St. John's Episcopal Church on Race St. in Jim Thorpe.