SIDNEY — A project in Versailles, New York, has found a home in Sidney, Ohio.
Boy Scout Mason Hughes, 14, of Piqua, learned about a “Community Blessing Box” which had been installed in New York. He thought it might be a good project for him to complete as he was earning his Eagle Scout award.
The blessing box, which is located in front of the First Presbyterian Church in Sidney, is stocked with food for those in need. The idea of the Blessing Box is to “take what you need and leave what you can.”
Mason thought the project would be a good one to help feed those hungry souls in Sidney. He said the project will benefit the church and the people who live in the area around the church.
“I wanted to help out the people who are in need of food,” said Mason.
After deciding this would be his Eagle Scout project, Mason began work to accomplish the installation of the blessing box.
“First I had to come up with a plan for the project,” said Mason. “Then we made blueprints of each piece with the width and dimensions included.”
The plan was presented to Troop 586’s committee and district committee, which reviews Eagle Scout projects. Mason is a member of Troop 586 in Tipp City.
“They gave me suggestions in building the blessing box,” said Mason. “I also had to give a presentation to the church committee.”
After receiving the go-ahead for the project, Mason contacted Lowe’s in Troy about purchasing the supplies needed for the project.
“My uncle is the manager there,” said Mason. “He contacted his boss. I was hoping to get the supplies at a discount. They decided to give me all my supplies for free.”
After picking up all the supplies, Mason and his dad, Jeff, got to work.
“My dad and I pre-cut all the pieces for the box,” said Mason. “We went to Home Depot for some finishing touches for it.”
On Thursday, Oct. 25, with the assistance of a hole digger they borrowed from a family friend, father and son dug the post hole at the church. The supporting pole was placed in the hole and secured with cement.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, Mason and his dad, along with his mom, Bridget, members of Troop 586 and other adult volunteers met at the church to begin assembly of the blessing box.
“The adults provided tips on how things could go more smoothly as we built the blessing box,” said Mason.
Before the end of the day, the box was stocked with food for those in need. Some of the items the blessing box was stocked with were cans of green beans and jars of peanut butter and jelly.
Mason’s cousin, who is also an Eagle Scout, works for Smuckers, and the company donated peanut butter and jelly to him for the project.
“The church holds a turkey trot each year,” said Mason. “Our pastor (Diana Circelli) said they will donate a portion of the food raised to the blessing box.”
“We are thrilled that God has nudged Mason to further First Presbyterian Church’s food ministries,” said Circelli. “Our hope is twofold: that this blessing box can help sustain anyone in our area who is in need and inspire everyone in the community who has plenty to stock it. In this way, we all can faithfully answer Jesus when he said, ‘…for I was hungry, and you fed me…’ -Matthew 25:35a.”
When he attends church each week, Mason will be checking the blessing box to make sure it is fully stocked. The church is allotting Mason a space in one of the rooms to store his food supply.
Mason said he has learned leadership skills from heading up the blessing box project. But the biggest thing he learned is to not procrastinate.
“I learned I need to get things done before they need to be done,” said Mason.”Things need to be done, so you’ll be prepared for when the actual project begins.”
Mason said he needs to earn two more merit badges before his Eagle Scout project is complete.
“The Scoutmaster will review everything before I’m officially an Eagle Scout,” said Mason.
His dad said he’s proud of the work Mason has done on the project.
“It’s been a learning experience for him,” said Jeff. “I’m an Eagle Scout, too, so it’s cool that he’ll be one too.”
“I’m extremely proud of him,” said mom Bridget.
The Hughes family lives in Piqua. Mason is a freshman at Tipp
City High School. His mom is a teacher at Tipp City Middle School. And the family attends the Presbyterian Church in Sidney.
Jeff said he is grateful for the Scouts and adults who traveled from Tipp City to help Mason with his project.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.