Roswell teen brings ‘blessing box’ to Gonzales Hope Center

Roswell teen brings blessing box to Gonzales Hope Center

The Gonzales Hope Center opened its doors as a warming shelter for the first time in December. Just a couple of months later, they have a new addition – a blessing box.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Just a few months after opening as a warming shelter, the Gonzales Hope Center has added a new way to help people get food.

Maliyah Juarez is a teen who has volunteered in the Roswell community for years now. She decided to take matters into her own hands when she saw many food boxes put up during the pandemic didn’t last.

“Most of them didn’t stand the weather and everything because some of it was wood, some of it was cardboard,” Juarez said.

It’s simple – leave what you can and take what you need.

It took two months to make what she calls “a blessing box” but the struggle wasn’t putting it together. It was finding a permanent spot for it to sit.

“We have a maybe. We’ll just wait, that way we wouldn’t give it away and then we’d have to make a new one for the next company. So we kept on waiting, they said no, so we moved onto the next one and that was just a longer process because it usually took months for them to get back to us,” Juarez said.

Then, a year and a half later, they met with organizers from the Gonzales Hope Center.

“Because the warming center is privately owned, we were able to discuss it with the owner of the building and the Gonzales decided that this would be a great fit for the blessing box,” said Jeneva Martinez, who represents Gonzales Hope Center.

Jeneva Martinez says they have helped over 250 people. They provide them with a shelter and services. She knows people will get good use out of the box.

“Having the blessing box here is a blessing for us because people experiencing food insecurities. It’s another way for them to know where we are located,” Martinez said. “People know that there is a consistent way for them to access food and soon to be able to access their services that we’re going to be able to provide.”