This box is a blessing

Michelle Bozzo, Jina Carranza and Melanie Mikeska, stand outside the Blessing Box, a sort of lending library for food and necessities. 

Take a little, leave a little, the two-week-old Blessing Box makes big things happen in Gilroy. Inspired by a post on Facebook, Michelle Bozzo, Melanie Mikeska, and Jina Carranza built the little white box that provides a quick snack or a badly needed dinner for those who need a helping hand.
“I sent a message on Facebook to Jina and I said, ‘Hey! This is way cool and we need to do it in Gilroy,’” said Michele Bozzo, one of the organizers. “I went on social media, told all my friends what I was going to do and asked who wanted to help. From old friends to new friends, everyone just wanted to help.”
The white, wooden box with plexiglass windows and script lettering at 7660 Monterey St., invites participants to “take what they need and leave what they can.” It was built by Mikeska, a 20-year veteran sheriff’s deputy.
Volunteers monitor and stock the box with non-perishable food items, personal hygiene and household goods. “The response has been incredible,” Bozzo said. “People have already come and left things.”
Carranza, CEO of Silicon Valley Credit Repair, works in the building where they put the box.
“It all happened so fast,” said Carranza. “Our first meeting was at Old City Hall for breakfast and after the second meeting, it was all done.”
What about theft or vandalism?
“We talked about that, but we couldn’t allow all the ‘what ifs’ to get in the way,” Bozzo said. “We hope that other people will take care of it with the same kind of love that we put into it.”
In addition to lending help to those in need, the Blessings Box has helped build friendships between people who would have otherwise been strangers.
“The friendships and pure love that’s come out of this has been incredible,” Mikeska said. “The support we’ve got has overwhelmed any obstacle we may have faced.”
The Blessings Box also offers anonymous assistance to those who normally wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a food bank in town.
“We had a young couple who were sitting on the wall here, eating something,” Bozzo said. “They felt that other places that give away food are for families and that this allows them to come and grab a snack when they need it.”
Items ranging from canned food, spaghetti, macaroni, and cheese, diapers, deodorant, dishtowels and candy for kids in need of a quick sugar rush, are all found in the Blessings Box. Perishable items, such as fruits and vegetables are prohibited from the Blessings Box, along with medicine, aspirin or mouthwash.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mikeska was a 26-year veteran sheriff’s deputy.


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