POWELL, Tenn. (WATE) — After a blessing box in front of a Powell business was damaged twice, the owners decided to temporarily close it off.
Rocky Estes owns Media Prints with his wife Sandra. They’ve owned the business for about 15 years, but have been in their location off Clinton Highway for about 5 years.
“We do t-shirts, banners, signs, embroidering, engraving,” Estes said. When the pandemic hit, they decided to offer more than printed items.
“It was tough on everybody, so we just thought that we would do it, a blessing box, and you know, for the people that really needed it. You know, we figured many people’s going to be out of work and everything you know, it would help the community,” Estes said.
A blessing box is usually some type of container where people can donate goods and others can take them for free, no questions asked. Estes said having the blessing box outside of his store was going well at first.
“The community really helps keep it up. I mean, Kyle’s (Liquidation) out here, he puts a lot of stuff in it. And the community really goes all out to keep food in it and you know, we’d leave and look in it and it would be full. Come in the next morning it would be empty,” Estes said.
Estes said he’s been able to meet some of the people who need to take from the blessing box. He said one woman came in thanking his wife and him for having it out there, saying it helped her eat when she didn’t have the means to do so.
“One man comes through here. One day I was out there talking to him. Just him and his dog. And he comes by two or three times a week. And I was out there talking to him and said ‘get what you want.’ And he said, ‘I just take what I need. Don’t want what I want.’ You know, he said, ‘save it for somebody else,'” Estes said.
But over the year and a half, they’ve had the blessing box outside their store, things have also gone missing or the box was broken.
“The girl next door over here. She painted a big rock because wind had blown it over. She painted this rock. I bet the rock weighed 30 pounds, and she put it in the bottom of the box so it wouldn’t blow away. Somebody stole the rock,” Estes said.
Estes said someone also broke the first blessing box they had outside. He said the box had four shelves in it. One day he looked inside and two of the shelves were missing. He said a local church helped replace that box.
But then, just a week ago, that box was damaged. He said that time, whoever damaged the box also damaged the building.
“We were here Saturday and it was fine. We’d come in Monday morning the pole was laying on the ground. I tried, I looked in the box and it was empty. I tried to close the door and it wouldn’t close. And I looked and the hinge was torn off the back at the top,” Estes said.
The support beam on the outside of the building was knocked over. Estes already repaired that, but he and his wife said they needed to do something to deter more damage.
“They don’t need to be doing that. You know, that it’s for the people that need it. It’s not for them to destroy and pretty much steal the food from people that need it,” Estes said.
So, he turned the blessing box around so no one could put items inside and no one could take items. It’s only a temporary break, though.
“We’ll open it back up, you know. Especially when the weather starts turning bad. You know, mainly we’ll do it then. But, you know, I don’t know when, you know. But, I jut hope that somebody sees this and knows who’s doing it and tells them to stop,” Estes said.