An unfortunate end, Blessing Box set to close

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– A box meant to help those less fortunate in the community has been chugging along for about a year. But now, it looks like the Blessing Box is set to close after the owner is being moved out of her house.

Lori Allen said she started the box after being on life support in 2014. Finding a way to fight back, Allen wanted to start focusing on her bucket list and fulfill some of the items. One of them had to do with the Blessing Box and finding a way to give back to her community.

“For me, it was about showing my grandkids that you can do something,” said Allen. “You could get a goal and you could accomplish it.”

People got behind the Blessing Box and started to fill it with everything from food and toiletries to toys and clothing for children. Allen says many families that were homeless or very low income used the box to help them get by.

“From really, really poor homeless to people who are just elderly and live in apartments,” she said. “But everybody struggles, everybody has a weak moment you know. Somebody’s paycheck was late or it was short or whatever and they would come to the box to get what they needed.”

However, Allen now faces an untimely challenge. Unfortunately, her landlord has new plans for the lot which she lives on and has notified her that she will have to move out within the next couple months.

It came as a shock for Allen and the realization of what will happen to her family is scary.

“We’re kind of in a panic mode and we’re kind of in a way devastated. We’ve lived here 20 something years,” she said. “My kids were raised in this house. Grandkids. It’s the only home they’ve ever known… not knowing where we’re going to go.”

She says many people ask if she has ill will towards the landlord. She wants everyone to know that’s not the case and she is understanding of what he needs to do. It just happens to be happening at the wrong time for her and her family.

Allen says it’s a bit of perverse irony. The Blessing Box has been her way to help people living on the streets. But now, she says her, her daughter, her son-in-law and their four kids may be joining them.

“The fear of being in the same position as a lot of the families I’ve talked to and that have come here – it’s all pretty overwhelming,” she said.

Allen says she’s been looking for housing in the area but it’s just to expensive. Unfortunately, they’ve been denied loans and grants making their situation more dire. But she still holds on to hope that her¬†family will land on their feet and she can build a new Blessing Box.

In the meantime, she hopes someone else might carry the mantle.

“Take it as a lesson learned,” she said. “You know, I had a time where I could help others and give so I encourage others just to keep giving. Because it takes a village.”

Allen says they plan on having a yard sale the weekend of June 15 to lighten their load and try and make some money to help them move.

If you want to visit the Blessing Box, it can be found on 1817 Williams Hwy.

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