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A box of hope

The Well promotes neighborhood food drives with ‘Rally Boxes’
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
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Kate Boersma poses with her neighborhood’s Rally Boxes from The Well Ministries outside her house, which are filled with donated grocery items for those in need.

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This yard sign, made by Cindi Woods, tells neighbors about The Well’s “Rally Box” neighborhood food drive project.

For many in the Ruston and Lincoln Parish communities adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns, both food supplies and social interaction can suddenly be harder to come by.

That’s why The Well Ministries in Ruston is working to safely provide both of those things for families in need through its new “Rally Box” program.

A Rally Box is a laundry basket that any community member can receive by request and place in their yard or another prominent place in their neighborhood so that neighbors can come together and donate food items for The Well to hand out to those in need.

“Basically they are a way for a neighborhood to host a food drive,” The Well Director Tara Stone said. “We ask one person to have a Rally Box at their house, we provide a letter that explains who The Well is and what we’re doing, and people can pass the letter out to their neighbors so that the whole neighborhood can work together to provide grocery items.”

So far the program has placed 22 Rally Boxes around the parish, which have brought in more than 1,200 grocery items in two weeks. Those groceries have been delivered to more than 40 families so far.

Originally an organization created to provide resources and community to foster care families, The Well’s mission has expanded to include biological families and others living in material poverty. Usually, one of their main ways of doing that is through Homer 413, a membershipbased resource center that provides groceries, laundry services and social events, but of course that location is currently closed.

Stone said that this time of separation has made it more difficult for The Well to focus on relationships in addition to physical needs, and the Rally Boxes have become a new avenue to do that.

“Groceries was one tangible need that we could meet as a way for us to keep showing up for people, telling them that we care, and continue building the relationships we had already started,” she said.

One Rally Box host, Britt Boersma, also delivers collected groceries to families for The Well. She said her delivery recipients are women she already knew through volunteering at Homer 413, and they’re just as grateful for the company as the food.

“One lady I got to see last week, she said, ‘Thank you for the groceries, but even more than that I miss y’all,’” Boersma said. “Another lady had chairs outside, so I was able to sit outside six feet away and catch up with her. They miss the community, so it was good to see them.”

Boersma lives on Northwood Drive near Hillcrest Elementary School. She posted The Well’s letter on the neighborhood Facebook page to enlist help filling her Rally Box.

“The basket was empty for about two days, then I came home one day and it was full,” she said. “So we had to put another random laundry basket out there for them to fill up. I was really excited to see our neighbors do that.”

New Rally Boxes are still available for anyone who doesn’t already have one in their neighborhood. Those interested can call 318-232-2865 or visit to request a box and have it delivered to their doorstep. Participants can place the box on their porch or by the street and call The Well when it is filled for them to pick up.

Those in need of grocery items can also call to be placed on the delivery list.

“These are more than just random food items,” Stone said. “They’re an invitation into relationships to walk through this weird season together so that nobody feels alone.”