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Local hero's 'Little Red Box' serves big purpose

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 27, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It’s the smallest house in the Cardinal Valley neighborhood, but fulfills one of the area’s biggest needs.

“You can just go anytime, so there’s no hassle at all. People can come at their leisure and come and get what they need," says local homeowner Cynthia Buckner.

The miniature house-shaped box, officially titled ‘The Little Red Blessing Food Box,’ is the creation of Buckner, who came up with the idea during the pandemic. A place for anyone in need to come any time of day and get free food.

And the response has been huge.

“Just as fast as I put it in there, there’s a lot of people that are in need,” Buckner points out as a father of five grabs a plastic bag from the conical-shaped holder on the side and begins filling it with foodstuffs.

“Some people are ashamed to go ask for help. But like I try to tell everyone that comes here that there’s no need to be ashamed."

“I had one family come over from Andover and I just happened to be home. It was during the COVID time and both parents had lost their jobs. It doesn’t matter. You don’t even have to tell me anything. Just come get it and go. So it’s not just my area, my community; it’s everywhere.”

Buckner predicts that she buys about 40% of the food out of her own pocket. The other 60% comes from donations from well-wishers.

“We thought it was important to just come and give back and show (my) kids that every little bit helps,” says Tiffany Opii, who stopped by with her children with a trunk full of various non-perishable goods. “It means a lot. We know that what little we’re doing is helping someone else have a meal for the day, so that’s important."

Buckner adds, “The donations will come. The community has always kept it filled up.”

But she isn’t satisfied. Buckner dreams of little red blessing boxes all over, but she needs help. She hopes that donations of wood and materials would allow these to be built all over Lexington and beyond.

“I’m just really in need of getting this started as a non-profit organization so that we can get a lot more of these around Lexington.”

Buckner asks anyone with an interest in helping her reach more people to give her a call at (859) 492.9872.