Lacey Spring Elementary

The Blessing Box was placed outside of Lacey Spring in February and will remain indefinitely.

Kim Wallace, a school nurse at Lacey Spring Elementary in Harrisonburg, shared her idea for a donation box to Principal Tammy May at the beginning of the school year. Wallace said she felt that some students’ families may have been financially impacted by the pandemic and would need support.

“I jumped for joy and said, ‘Go with it,’” May said. “‘Let's do it.’”

The Blessing Box, which was placed outside of Lacey Spring in February and will remain indefinitely, is an opportunity for the community to give and take nonperishable foods and toiletries. The box resembles a large birdhouse — it’s supported by posts, is covered with a shingle roof and has clear doors. Wallace’s husband, Kevin, said he worked on it off and on during a week in December.

“She likes to help people,” Kevin said. “With her being a nurse, that's what she does.”

Kim said donations have been coming in daily as news of the box has spread in the community through word of mouth, Lacey Spring’s Facebook page and a feature on local news network WHSV, and she’s been reaching out to local churches and grocery stores to see if they would like to help keep the box stocked throughout the year. She said she’s noticed that much of Lacey Spring’s student population has utilized free food assistance through the school cafeteria, so the Blessing Box is another way to provide for those who may be struggling at home.

“We have a high percentage of need,” Wallace said. “A lot of our parents may be single-income households, or with [COVID-19] this past year, a lot of them have lost their jobs.”

The Blessing Box currently houses items like canned vegetables and fruit, pasta, oatmeal, toothbrushes and shampoo. Kim said it’s started to overflow, so she put a box underneath for larger items, like liters of soda and juice. 

Though this is Kim’s first year at Lacey Spring, May said she’s brought many “amazing” ideas to the table and is always looking for ways to help students. At the beginning of the school year, May said she reached out to staff to seek donations for school supplies so that parents wouldn’t have to purchase them for their children. May said she was impressed at the amount of supplies Kim provided single-handedly.

“This is how she operates,” May said. “She's always looking for ways to bless others.”

Kim said the Blessing Box will be up year-round and can be accessed at any time of day. May said she’s grateful that Lacey Spring has faculty members like Kim who want to make a difference in children’s lives.

“Our school's theme is ‘Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Relationships,’” May said. “Healthy Relationships means that we spend time helping others, and what better way to help others than to have a Blessing Box?”

Contact Kamryn Koch at kochkr@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.