Share boxes provide help for those needing it

Posted on 10 April 2020 at 6:01am

COLUMBIA - The share box Mike Bellman made is small and unassuming, but it represents so much more. 

"A lot of folks have decided to take the challenges of this pandemic and look for ways to help each other and support each other," Bellman said. "I'm really encouraged by that."

Share boxes are typically cabinets or a small set of shelves. Some boxes have food staples like beans, vegetables and pasta. Others, like Bellman's, have books, movies and games, too. Anyone can leave items and anyone can take items. 

Bellman's box comes with a sign encouraging people to "Take what you need. Leave what you can. Sanitize before and after." 

His share box is on Hatton Chapel Road, but there are other boxes throughout Boone County. 

Bellman said he wanted to set up his box to help out people who are struggling to get supplies because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

"There may be shortages that people are experiencing," he said. "When people experience shortages, when people can't go into town, when people are out of money and they need some food or they need some toiletries, we need to get it to them." 

Bellman said share boxes are a great way to do this because it's easy to maintain social distancing while using the boxes. 

Right now, Bellman said his box contains things he found in his house, but eventually, he wants the movement to grow and for people to be able to meet specific needs others have. 

"You could even arrange something and say 'Hey, I need a can or jar of blank. Can someone leave it in this box located here?'" Bellman said. "Then someone else in the community would go 'Yeah, I can do that. I'll do it at 3.' Then other people in the community would be aware."

Bellman said he's not sure exactly what purpose his box will serve after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but he hopes the spirit of service within the community continues. 

To request an item to be left in Bellman's box, email HCRSwapBox@gmail.com.