Ira Hall, left, pastor of Bean’s Corner Baptist Church in Jay, and church member Rick Simoneau stand beside the newly installed Blessing Cupboard on Tuesday in the parking lot of the church. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

JAY — Blessings sometimes come in cupboards and boxes.

The Bean’s Corner Baptist Church on Chesterville Road in Jay has installed a Blessing Cupboard. St. Rose of Lima Church Parish Hall at 1 Church St. in Jay and St. Joseph’s Church Parish Hall at Middle and Quebec streets in Farmington have Blessing Boxes.

Members of the Bean’s Corner church on Chesterville Road, also Route 156, thought about expanding its food closet to help those in need when food closet coordinator Brenda Clark learned the Good Shepherd Food Bank was not taking new clients.

Since the church’s food closet was inside and not very accessible, they thought of putting a Blessing Cupboard outside in the parking lot, member Rick Simoneau said Tuesday.

Administrative specialist Beth Hoyt had sent a photo of a blessing box and members decided to build their own.

The goal is to have an active church membership, Ira Hall, senior pastor, said.

“We have been promoting a massive team effort,” he said. “Everyone is involved in a role. A lot of different people have a part. We believe the church is the people.”

A note posted on the Bean’s Corner Baptist Church in Jay’s newly installed Blessing Cupboard reads: “Take a blessing when you need one, leave a blessing when you can.” Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Rick Barnett, a church member and local carpenter, had material to build the cupboard. He and his wife, Ann, and Simoneau installed it Sunday.

It is stocked with canned goods, baby food, bean products, pasta, peanut butter, cereals, dish soap and other nonperishable items, Simoneau said.

“There is a little bit of everything,” he said. They also plan to get a bigger tote near the door of the sanctuary so people can donate items.

If people want to take something, they can. If they want to donate, they can do that as well.

One of the neighbors previously saw Hall and came out to speak to him. The neighbor and his wife had been wanting to do something to help others and were excited to see the Blessing Cupboard, Hall said.

The goal is to help people who are in a bad way, in a vulnerable spot.

“We want to serve our community and give the community a chance,” Hall said.

What is hard for with the governor’s order to stay home and keep a safe distance away from others is trying to help people and keep them involved, Simoneau said.

Hall said they were very appreciative of Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr.’s message posted on the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page on April 1 in regards to the latest executive order at that time. Nichols explained what deputies would be doing during the pandemic and how people should follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. He also encouraged them to look out for others especially the older people and shut-ins.

Hall said Nichols helped clarify the order.

“The leadership here has reached out to Tina Riley, our representative, and Shiloh LaFreniere (Jay town manager) just to let them know we want to help in what way we can, safely,” Simoneau said. “We are doing what we can to stay active in a way that is safe.”

Besides helping to support the food cupboards and closets in Jay and Farmington, the church’s Blessed Hands, a group of women, are working six to eight hours a day to make masks to donate to nursing homes and other places where they are needed.

In reference to St. Joseph’s and St. Rose’s Blessing Boxes, Max Becher and volunteers continues the work with the boxes in Farmington and Jay, the Rev. Paul Dumais, pastor of both churches, wrote in an email.

“This sidewalk food cupboard operates according to the motto: take what you need and leave what you can,” he wrote.

“We have expanded the project, which had already been established, to include refrigerators and additional nonperishable foods within the entryways of the parish building opened from morning to evening every day,” he wrote. The parish hall doors in both places are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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