A new program at Elkin Presbyterian Church is expanding to a partnership with the church’s preschoolers who will help provide food for those in need in the community.
On Friday, the youngsters and their teachers gathered in the parking lot of the church, across N.C. 268 Business from the entrance to Elkin Municipal Park, along with the Rev. Stuart Taylor and Wayne Stone, to dedicate their new blessing box. The box follows the same pattern as other free food pantry boxes popping up in the area.
The 25 preschoolers and their parents have been tasked with making sure the box stays stocked with nonperishable foods, toiletries and other needed items of which those in the community may be in need.
“Elkin Presbyterian Church is living into a new mission focus for our congregation called Nourishing Body and Soul,” explained Taylor as he began the short dedication Friday morning. “Nourishing Body and Soul in large part means following Jesus by feeding hungry people.”
Misty Cranford, director of the church’s preschool, said the teachers have been working with the children to explain what the blessing box is for and why it is needed. “We are hoping that it will not only serve as a blessing to our community and those in need, but as a way to instill kindness, generosity, love and giving into the minds and hearts of our children,” she said.
“Children often learn by example and we are hoping that by modeling this behavior it will teach them the importance of caring for others,” she said. “Big changes in the world begin by teaching our children to love and care about others and hopefully this will be one step in that direction. We know that our children here at Elkin Presbyterian Church Preschool have the potential to go out into the world and do great things; we just want to make sure that they always think of others during that process.”
Taylor said, “In partnership with our preschool, we are happy to dedicate this food pantry, a blessing box if you will, in service to the larger community. We intend to get the word out that if your own pantry is looking bare, there is food available for you here.”
He thanked Stone for “his craftsmanship in designing and building this blessing box,” and the staff, children and families of the preschool for their support in the project.
Chloe Shugart, one of the preschoolers, said she is excited about the box, “because no one has food, so people can come and get it out of the blessing box.”
Zoey Murphy, a preschooler, added, “We give people some stuff they should have.”
“Other people need toothpaste and toothbrushes,” said preschooler Chase Branon. His sister, Elin, added, “Because people need food.”
The blessing box can be found in the parking lot of Elkin Presbyterian Church, 151 Hillcrest Drive, Elkin.
Wendy Byerly Wood can be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.