Breckenridge Texan

Little Free Library and Blessing Box in city park offers books, other items for community

Little Free Library and Blessing Box in city park offers books, other items for community
January 23
14:45 2022

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

In the middle of the park in the middle of Breckenridge stands a little wooden box. And, in the box are books and boxes and cans and bottles and other kinds of packages that contain the types of thing people tend to need.

The box is a combination Little Free Library and Blessing Box for the community of Breckenridge. It was created by a small group of local residents who wanted to do something special for their fellow citizens.

The books, food, toiletries and other items are free to anyone. And although the organizers of the box will be replenishing the contents as needed, anyone may also donate books are other items to share with others.

Lee Olson started working on the project back when he was the store director at Breckenridge’s United Supermarket. Inspired by his daughter, Abby Moore, who is the librarian for Breckenridge Independent School District, Olson started planning the book section of the box. As he talked about the idea, Teresa Fitch, a cashier at United, brought up the concept of a Blessing Box. So, they combined the ideas into one project.

Before long, others in the community were involved, as well. Higginbotham’s donated the lumber. Former United employee Turner Baugh built the box. Current United Store Director Tanner Taylor donated a gift card on behalf of the store for Blessing Box items. Olson also worked with Stacy Harrison, City of Breckenridge’s Public Services Director, to get permission to put the box in the park. And, several other people in the community donated items and money for the project.

“What we ultimately want to see is people in our community help us just regenerate it,” Olson said. “If they want to come down here and put some canned goods in, they can do that if they want to. Or they can bring books down here that they either just leave or trade. The whole idea is that we will move product in and out.”

Everyone involved in the project said they will be checking the box regularly to see what needs to be replenished.

The box is located in front of the first parking space in the park’s main parking lot, in the northwest corner of the parking lot.

Last week, a group of Breckenridge citizens gathered in the city park to fill up the newly installed Little Free Library and Blessing Box with books, canned goods and other items. Participating were (adults, from left): Zoe Cooper, Barbara Thornton, Tanner Taylor (behind Barbara), Teresa Fitch, Beverly Olson, Lee Olson, Turner Baugh, and Abby Moore; and (kids, from left): Grayson Holman, Violet Fitch, Kaycey Funderburg, Marvin Moore, Max Moore, Bayler Baugh and Tucker Baugh. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Little Free Library

Moore said that she has wanted to build a Little Free Library for Breckenridge for a long time, and then her dad installed the box in the park on her birthday last week. The concept is based on a nonprofit organization that promotes the establishment of the freestanding neighborhood book exchange boxes. According to the organization’s website, there are 100,000 Little Free Libraries worldwide.

The Little Free Library in the Breckenridge city park will operate on an honor system. Anyone can take a book and bring it back when they’re finished with it. Or, they can bring a book to trade, leaving one and taking another.

Moore has initially stocked the Little Free Library with a variety of adult and children’s books and hopes that others will donate more books. Many of the children’s books were donated by local elementary students who often bring their old books to Moore to share with others.

“I was really happy to bring them up here, because that’s exactly what those kids wanted to happen… to give them to somebody else,” Moore said. “So, it really was sweet.”

The Breckenridge Little Free Library has a Facebook page welcoming the community to use the book exchange. The Facebook page asks that anyone donating books not overstuff the box. “If you have a large amount of books to donate, contact the Breckenridge Public Library to see if you can donate to their ongoing book sale,” Moore requests on the page.

According to the national Little Free Library website, one of the benefits of the book exchange boxes is that they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The goals of the organization include inspiring readers and expanding book access for everyone.

Blessing Box

Teresa Fitch said that she and her husband, John, had wanted to build a Blessing Box for the community, and then after he passed away in 2020, she continued on with their plans.

“We both thought our community could benefit from it, both those who were in need and those who would be able to help,” she said. “After my husband passed away and I returned to work, I spoke with Lee about it, and he ran with the idea. It was something my husband and I believed in and had really wanted to do, so I am very thankful that Lee made it happen.”

Similar to Little Free Libraries, Blessing Boxes – sometimes known as Little Free Pantries – are places where community members can pick up items that they need, such as food or toiletries, and others can make donations.

The Breckenridge Blessing Box started out with a variety of non-perishable food items, including cereal bars, canned goods, snacks. There are also some toiletry items for men, women and children, including deodorant, soap and other items.

The box also contains items such as bandages that people walking or playing in the park might need, Moore said.

The Blessing Box has a Facebook page, as well, where the community can keep up with information about the box, such as what types of items are needed, etc. Click here to visit the page.

 

Teresa Fitch, left, and Abby Moore show off the contents in the Blessing Box and Little Free Library in the Breckenridge City Park. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: The Little Free Library and Blessing Box in the Breckenridge City Park is filled with books for adults and children, as well as with food, snacks and toiletries for anyone who needs them. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

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