‘Blessing Box’ meeting Havasu’s needs in a quiet way

March 5, 2019

There’s a quiet but powerful father-son project on a busy stretch of Lake Havasu Avenue that sits unnoticed by most motorists.

Joe Tobin is fine with that.

Tobin and his 13 year-old son, Jake, created a smallish metal “Blessing Box.” The label on the front of the box reads: “Take what you want, leave what you can.” It contains a varied inventory of nonperishable foods, hygiene products and items for infants. While the Tobins restock the shelves, so do others.

“There are so many contributors. And when we go to the grocery store, we pick up a couple of items for the box. I’ve been surprised at how many people take things out and put things in,” Tobin said.

The idea for the box came to Tobin through happenstance. He’d seen similar boxes that contain books for people to take or donate to the selection. On Facebook, he saw a similar concept that offered and accepted food. He and Jake spent a couple of months putting their project together.

“We were at Havasu Iron and Metal one day and they had this metal box they didn’t need. They donated it to us. Jake and I worked on it at home and added a latch and some shelves. Then we found a spot for it and filled the box. It’s been used for about three months now,” Tobin said.

The Blessing Box has served two important purposes. First, it allowed a father to teach his son in a very hands-on way about the importance of community service. Tobin intended to make it an anonymous project to teach Jake that service without recognition is its own reward. But their cover was blown when Today’s News-Herald noticed the Blessing Box.

A reluctant Tobin took part in this interview because of the Blessing Box’s higher purpose.

“Havasu has a lot of people who are having a hard time making ends meet. If an item or two from the Blessing Box helps tide them over, it’s worth it.

“I know a lot of people are using it. I’m a Lake Havasu City firefighter, and when I come off a 48-hour shift, I stop by and check the box,” Tobin said. “The things that get taken the most are food, diapers, wipes, feminine products, toothbrushes and toothpaste. It gets really hot in the box, so we have to be careful about what goes in there.”

As for the products that are removed from the box, the Tobins have one word for those: blessings.

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