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Couple keeps ‘blessing box’ stocked with food to help neighbors in need

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    NEPTUNE CITY, New Jersey (WCBS) — One family’s good deed means others won’t go hungry in one New Jersey town, and it turns out their love of giving is contagious.

Stephen and Rosalyn Smith stock the Blessing Box standing proudly in front of their Neptune City home.

“Crackers, really good treat,” Stephen said.

Pretzels are, too.

“We stuff it as much as we can,” he said.

Stephen tells CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock in late November, a TV show called “Returning the Favor” inspired him to take action.

It took a week to craft the shelter and highlight the simplest of terms — “take what you need” or “leave what you can.”

The Smiths filled it with $30 worth of food, shared details on social media and waited.

“Two weeks before Christmas, we started noticing stuff disappearing,” Stephen said.

Donations started to pile up.

“It’s taken over my dining room,” Rosalyn said.

The generosity has been so overwhelming, Stephen asked for pause.

“We needed a place to put a tree and gifts for the kids,” he said, laughing.

Now, there’s a steady flow of food in and out.

“If one family came and took three bags of groceries, but they can put gifts under the tree for their kids, look, it makes our day,” Rosalyn said.

Blessings abound in Neptune City. A young lady, just 15 years old, was inspired by Stephen’s Blessing Box and started her own.

The contents are a little different — on purpose.

“I felt that I wanted to do something to help, but I didn’t want to copy his idea,” 15-year-old Mary Jodry said.

Peek inside and find essential goods, like cleaning and hygiene products. She refills it every other day. Mary shares she stepped up to help many times before, but this time it’s personal.

“Just feels really close to home because it’s people from Neptune City that I know,” she said.

“I know there will be a time when we don’t need this Blessing Box. I know there will be. I just don’t know when,” Stephen said.

The Smiths say by their estimate, about 30 families use the Blessing Box, and they say it will stay stocked until neighbors no longer need it.

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