People helping people is a crucial element to life in Wayne County. Four Norwayne Middle School students decided to practice this firsthand when they built a “blessing box,” which helps people help each other by providing canned food, toiletries and other items to people in need.

The students, seventh-grader Ethan Davis and eighth-graders Annika Forsleff, Chase Petty and Avery Bass, are members of the Technology Student Association competition team from Norwayne Middle School. The project was the result of the efforts of those students: the TSA’s construction team, reported the News-Argus’ Sierra Henry on Tuesday.

“They had to create an item or something that would benefit the community and tie in with construction,” said Sarah Neider, adviser for Norwayne TSA. “They just thought it was something that could touch a lot of people in Goldsboro that were in need.

“Even though (blessing boxes) are very popular, there are not very many located throughout our county.”

The first ones of note, which reporter Phyllis Moore wrote about in January 2018 in the News-Argus, were constructed by Brandi Matthews, who said she discovered the prototype of a similar effort in Arkansas and knew right away it was a timely idea for her hometown.

“There’s a need in every area,” Matthews said of the “anonymous place” designed to provide for those who may have fallen on hard times.

The idea took fruition locally around the end of September 2017, with a second one installed about one month after that.

The large, brightly colored containers are a way to be a blessing or receive one, Matthews said in January 2018. That is what the instructions spelled out on the glass doors of the blessing boxes. “If you need a blessing, take one. If you can leave a blessing, leave one.”

The idea began with her replicating things she saw done in other cities around the country. And likewise, it attracted what she expected it would, canned goods and non-perishable items.

A great deal of need exists. It is so gratifying when people like Brandi Matthews and the TSA team from Norwayne Middle School work separately, and more than a year apart, on a project that helps people who they may not know personally but do know they need help. It is this type of blind support — doing for others when you don’t even know who they are. This a great lesson for all of us started in Wayne County by Brandi Matthews and continued by a handful of teenagers at Norwayne Middle School.