BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Over the past few months, various groups in Beckley have put up Blessing Boxes around the community, but some haven’t given them a warm welcome.

“We decided to do that as a project here in Beckley because we knew the need for basic need essential items,” said Raleigh County Prevention Coalition President Dee Sizemore.

The boxes took off immediately, with hungry residents emptying the boxes multiple times each week. Unfortunately, some haven’t been as thankful for the new additions.

“You can tell that somebody has forcibly tried to remove the door,” said Sizemore. “I don’t know if it’s someone that has tried to rip the whole box from the framing and just the door has come off, but…[four boxes] are damaged in the same way.

The damaged Blessing Boxes include the one sponsored by Computer Chick and New River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, a box at Head Start sponsored by Beckley Women’s March and the Raleigh County NAACP, a box sponsored by City Slicker on Johnstown Road and the box sponsored by the Beckley Rotary Club in Glen Daniel.

“Somebody contacted me a couple days ago and it looked like the door was left open on it,” said Seby Bell, a member of the fellowship and owner of Computer Chick. “I came by yesterday to check on it and fill it up and realized the door wasn’t actually open. It was lying on the ground and had been torn off.”

The box by Head Start has been targeted multiple times, with more than a door missing from the box.

“I purchased a rack to hold the pamphlets and that rack… was stolen,” said Carol Workman with Beckley Women’s March.

The Blessing Boxes’ sponsors filed a report with Beckley Police. So far, there’s no telling who could have done this or why.

” Hurting efforts to help people who need help in the community won’t make those people go away,” said Bell. “If anything, it will make the problem worse.”

The missing doors mean supplies in the boxes are exposed to the weather, which could damage items people may need.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.