The Green Team and their Blessing Boxes
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - December 2, 2018 (LSN) The Green Dream Team - Helping Hearts, is a volunteer group organized by Ashlee Burton as a way to create a healthier and happier environment within our community. Between April and October of 2018 she and her crew filled 364 bags of garbage and properly disposed of over 2500 used needles. These cleanups were conducted all over the city at locations either scouted in advance or called in by people who noticed problems. Then in typical Canadian fashion, it got real cold real fast and Ashlee had to come up with some new ideas to stay busy until Spring.
After seeing a small outdoor library in town one day, she had her best idea yet. The outdoor library was a small box filled with books to lend out to anyone who needed something to read. People could either borrow or donate books anonymously on the honor system. What if… instead of books, fill them with items residents might need during the Winter months. She pitched the idea to other team members and the “blessing box” was born. The blessing box could help the less fortunate who aren’t comfortable asking for help get what they need anonymously. Her team got to work making it happen. During the Winter months, the blessing boxes will be stocked with boxed nonperishable food items, hats, mittens, scarves and any other items that might help fight the cold. In Summer they will be filled with sun hats, books, canned goods, toothpaste, deodorant or anything that gets donated during the Winter that can’t be left outside in the cold.
You can check out the Facebook page, or the new website www.greendreamteam-hh.ca for a detailed list of items needed.
Volunteers have, and will continue to get together to build these blessing boxes and people have reached out with donations of everything needed. Items needed can include gift certificates for wood, hardware, paint, shingles, siding and plexiglass to build the boxes and various food and clothing items to keep them stocked. We have 7 amazing people willing to donate their property and time to keep these boxes safe and to make sure a team member is alerted when the box stock gets low. There are already two blessing boxes in place. The first is installed at 361 North Brodie Street, and the second is installed on the 500 block of McLaughlin street. Plans to place others in the Ogden area, Tamarack Place, E. Francis, Empress Avenue, County Park area and behind the Bean Fiend on Algoma.
The Green Dream Team - Helping Hearts is making sure these things happen. Here’s a breakdown of their organization and how you
can make things happen too:
- Ashlee Dawn and Melissa McMahon will be more than happy to answer any and all general inquiries about the group and projects. We will also head any volunteering planned at the Underground Gym and the hot chocolate walks .
- Eric Klages and Lyndsay Alessandro are the people to contact for donations. Lyndsay maintains a donation drop box at her home between the hours of 9AM and 6PM. The most important reason we ask people to make food/item donations through Lyndsay and Eric is because it's much easier to stay organized. When we have all 8 planned blessing boxes up and in use, it will be easier for our admins to do their weekly checks and have stock on hand by picking it up from one location. You can contact Lyndsay via Facebook, or email at [email protected].
- Dennis Ukrainec is the talented painter who does a wonderful job with the quotes and door designs.
Ashlee, Eric Klagas and Tim Borg visit local hardware stores to ensure the gift certificates
are being put to good use.
- Contact Jeremy Mcfarley and Nicole Berube to donate gift certificates. Jeremy and Nicole also supply their
heated garage, tools, time and knowledge to make sure these blessing boxes are built to stand up to our Canadian WInters.
We have more plans to keep ourselves busy and help the community further this winter, such as volunteering at the Underground Gym and doing Hot Chocolate walks.
Our first hot chocolate walk was a huge success, as the team handed out hot chocolate, homemade cookies (Thank you, Nicole Berube) and hand knitted hats (Thank you Donna Salo) to everyone they saw walking down the street.
The Green Dream Team - Helping Hearts are looking forward to many more walks this winter and are looking forward to helping this community all year long.