“I grew up two roads over. I moved to Covington County for eight years and came back. You can always come home. After Sally, we were cleaning trees. Everyone was looking for food, even us. We didn’t think it was going to be bad so we didn’t prepare. The Red Cross came by a couple of days after Sally, but we never saw them again. I realized we needed something here and have a central place for our community.
The Barnwell Blessings Barn started as a magazine stand that someone left on the side of the road. I picked it up and was going to use it for my garden tools. We live across from Barnwell Baptist Church and something kept telling me to do something else with it. After Sally, I put it out by the road and stocked it with canned food. I looked at it and thought I can do better than that. I had a wishing well and took it apart and used that. I was a little bigger, but a few days later I thought I could do better. So we started using these two storage units. A lady just gave us a third.
We can barely keep the food stocked. People come in the evenings when they get off work. We have snacks for the kids and toilet paper. Some people drop off donations. We now have clothes and want to put furniture in the third shed. I want to get a little refrigerator and freezer for milk and meat.
Before Sally, I never would have thought of this. It was COVID. Everything was black and white and we were all fighting. But when something bad happens, people come together.
(A couple stops by and drops off noodles and soup. They say they will bring clothes next time)
That couple has several members of their family who now have mold in their homes. They had to move out, but they don’t have another place to go. Their family is trying to help, but it is hard. People who need help themselves are still finding ways to give and to help others.
I was a dispatcher for almost 18 years. I got hurt last year and had to quit. I wanted to do something else with my life. It has been amazing to watch this Blessing Barn bring people together. People I have never met ask how they can help. Turn off the news and you find so many good people. People have said they want to start this in their communities.
We don’t have much money, but I would give all of the money I have to help others. I want this to be big, and I wish I could go door to door and see how people need help. There are families out here who don’t have power because something happened at their home and the power company can’t reconnect them. Everyone is so busy and they can’t come out to help. We have to find ways to take care of each other.
The Blessings Barn is open all of the time unless it looks like rain. It feels good when I lay down at night, knowing someone may be stopping by to get what they need. Every time I come out in the morning, there is still a little food in here. People take what they need and leave the rest for someone else.”