Giving Box in Murfreesboro, TN - A Blessing to be a Blessing

May 02, 2023
A Giving Box - from the LYFE youth of Advent, Murfreesboro, TN

From Kelly Ribar, parent of a youth participant from Advent LC, Murfreesboro, TN:

Our journey with our giving box started last summer during VBS. We decided as a group, kids and parents/teachers, that we wanted to come up with a way to give back as part of our VBS mission. We choose to ask for food pantry donations for those children in our area who, over the summer, do not always has access to regular meals as they do during the school year. Being a cafeteria manager, this is something I see firsthand. While discussing this with the kids and fellow teachers, I told them how there are several giving boxes, aka small food pantries, for people to come to take what they need without the fear of judgment and more easily accessible for those who can’t always get to local food pantries during specific times. We also begin discussing the possibility of having our own giving box for our local community. Being the “in” person for our council, I brought this up to the council. We discussed where and the possibility of making sure having this wouldn’t be an issue with safety and our insurance. By the next council meeting, we had gotten the all-clear to move forward with the project. We then began discussing making this a Sunday School and LYFE project. (LYFE is the youth group's moniker, which stands for Lutheran Youth For Everyone.) We wanted to make this a church project, not just a LYFE one. We wanted anyone who wanted to be involved to have the opportunity to do so. We made plans for LYFE to paint the outside with verses and the LYFE tree. Sunday School would be painting rocks to border the box on the ground, which will go along with a bible study. These rocks will have friendly sayings, bible verses etc, which will also coincide with the local Murfreesboro Rocks page. Which is a local group that makes and hides rocks all over Rutherford County for kids and adults to find, share a picture, and re-hide somewhere else.

Then began our search for a box. We were offered a Thrivent grant from a congregation member who had received one and not used it yet. We discussed different options of what kind of box to build/buy, what worked for other boxes in the area, and what did not work. We came up with the idea of using an old ice cooler after another box in the area with some changes in mind. We quickly found a used chest posted for free on the marketplace. It had been outside and unused for close to 10 years. But it was free! We quickly messaged the owners explaining our intent with it, and they gladly held it for us until we could secure a trailer and the time to go pick it up, being it was several hours away. We borrowed a trailer from a congregation member, brought the chest to church, and began the project!! We had to clean it, put in ventilation and add shelves. We do still have to paint the LYFE tree on it, but for now, it is open!!