A blessing box once saved her family. Now she's using one to help feed her Petersburg community.

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Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-27 08:37:16-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Once homeless and relying on food pantries to survive, Traci Mckee said with her family slowly getting better, she wants to help others the same way the community helped her.

Just one week ago the mother of four started the Mckee Family Free Food Pantry or "Blessing Box," a mini food pantry that sits just outside her home.

"When the pandemic hit my husband's financials dropped. That left us struggling financially, so I was like oh my gosh we’re not going to have enough food and everything else," said McKee. "I saw a blessing box and was like 'Oh well that helped.' It really saved me. So now that I’m getting on my feet, I’m going to start giving back to the community what they gave me."

The free food box is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, weather permitting, and houses food that anyone can come by and take.

"I felt like there’s a lot of people that are in this area that I see walking or riding a bike, or taking the bus and I’m like they don't have transportation," said McKee. "They can just walk over and get it on the way passing."

Though its appearance is small, McKee says its purpose is mighty. "I just feel like everybody should be able to have something to eat, even if it’s just a can of beans or soup or ramen noodles or peanut butter just people need to eat," she said.

McKee said this is only the beginning of her goal to give back and hopes to see its impact continue to grow.

"There’s a lot of places in Petersburg that help but just not a blessing box itself and I just felt like some people just want to pull up to blessing box, unknown, and get what they want at any time," she said. "I’m hoping it’s going to get bigger and going to be as fancy as the other ones I’ve seen."

McKee said items like pasta, beans, and peanut butter go the fastest, so if you’re hoping to donate you can drop items off at 509 Saint Luke Street in Petersburg.

You can visit their Facebook page to contact Mckee.

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