PUEBLO, Colo. — GT Davis is on a mission to end hunger in his town.
“We’re feeding the people who are hungry,” Davis told Rocky Mountain PBS. “We don’t want any more hungry people.”
In early 2021, Davis began constructing wooden boxes, varying in size, with doors. The boxes, which he calls Blessing Boxes, store pantry food items and drinks for people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.
The Pueblo blessing boxes
GT Davis is on a mission to end hunger in his town.
Across the state, Coloradans are struggling to afford food. According to Hunger Free Colorado’s April 2021 COVID Food Insecurity Survey, 33% of Coloradans lack reliable access to nutritious food and 16% of children in the state are not getting adequate nutrition due to financial constraints.
On top of existing disparities, the pandemic exacerbated food insecurities in Pueblo.
“A lot of people lost their jobs,” said Diem Sellers, a Blessing Box volunteer. “When you’re nourished, you’re secured. When you’re secured, you’re empowered to continue to just keep on going … one day at a time.”
When Davis retired and moved to Pueblo a few years ago, he volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the local soup kitchen. But when the pandemic forced Davis and his wife to isolate because of their age, he watched as the food banks in his area struggled.
“The lines are hours-long. And it [was] just one thing after another,” Davis recalled. “There’s got to be something I can do.”
With a bit of research and some knowledge from his time as a United Airline mechanic, Davis began building. Now, 28 boxes later, “we’ve got quite a movement going on,” he said.
Davis, with the help of volunteers, collects food that doesn’t require refrigeration–everything from peanut butter to pasta sauce–and fills the boxes twice each week in Pueblo County. The rules are posted on each box: “Take what you need, bring what you can, above all be blessed!”
Because many of the folks who visit the Blessing Boxes are unhoused, the boxes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone, no questions asked.
“It’s as simple as putting the kitchen cabinet out on the curb here,” Davis said.
In addition to raising awareness about the boxes, Davis hopes community members will step in and contribute to the cause.
“We have seen in the last couple of months … a big improvement on food in the boxes,” he said. “We're seeing more people bring food, but it's still not enough.”
The Blessing Boxes are spreading kindness, Sellers explained. “Kindness is free and it’s just helping however way you can whether it’s one bottle of water, one granola bar.”
According to Sellers, Davis hopes to spread Blessing Boxes all over Colorado.
“As bad as the hunger thing is right now, I get joy knowing that we are feeding people,” Davis said. “We talk to these people while we're filling the boxes and it's just heartwarming.”
To donate, items can be dropped off at a local Blessing Box or at Davis’ house: 573 S Rogers Drive, Pueblo West, CO 81007
As the weather grows hotter, Davis is especially seeking bottled water for the Blessing Boxes.
Brian Willie is the Content Production Manager with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at email@example.com.