Food donations box brings a Southeast DC neighborhood together

Capitol Hill resident Wendy Hammond with her blessings box. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

Just like those distinctive free-library neighborhood boxes where books are shared, a food-sharing “blessing box” with an ambitious plan to feed the hungry on D.C.’s Capitol Hill is drawing the support of neighbors.

A handcrafted wood and glass box sits outside the home of Wendy Hammond at the corner of 14th and E streets in Southeast D.C. — a half-hour walk from the U.S. Capitol building.

It’s a micro food pantry, stuffed with hearty goods, essential commodities and toiletries all free for the taking, from peanut butter and pasta to shampoo and diapers.

Hammond and her mom installed it to help fulfill the basic needs of those in her area who struggle with homelessness and hunger.

“I am a giver, I am a helper … I want to continue the tradition of being part of the community,” Hammond said. “There’s a need in D.C.”

Do-it-yourself blessing boxes are gaining popularity around the country, with online guides on how to start one and where best to put it.

Since donations started late last year, Hammond said the community has taken notice and has been actively contributing.

Passing by, neighbor Nicole Krahn acknowledged the kindness of it all: “Little things like this that we see pop up around the neighborhood are great examples of the good in humanity, we’re helping each other out.”

Wendy Hammond replenishes the food donations box outside her Capitol Hill home.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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