The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield (JWL) is seeing months of hard work by its newest members come to fruition with the installation of five Blessing Boxes throughout Johnston County and the production and sale of a cookbook that allowed for the donation of 400 cookbooks to Harbor to be given to their clients as they transition out of the shelter.
In August 2018, members of JWL’s provisional class were tasked with completing a project that would have an impact on food insecurity in Johnston County, which the league had previously identified as its focus topic. This group of women ended up taking on two projects: Cookbooks and Blessing Boxes.
The Cookbook committee produced Tried & True: From Our Homes to Yours, JWL’s first cookbook, a hardcover book that features more than 270 recipes from JWL members. In selling the cookbooks, the committee decided to adopt a buy one, give two philosophy; for each copy of Tried & True sold, JWL is able to donate two copies of Welcome Home to Harbor to be given to their clients as they transition out of the shelter. Welcome Home features good, nutritious, and budget-friendly recipes. “To see the cookbooks come together has been phenomenal,” stated Kristen Brown and Kelsey Carter-Daniels, Cookbook committee co-chairs. “A tremendous amount of work went into the cookbooks, and we are so pleased with the impact that they are already having in Johnston County.” Tried & True is available for purchase for $22 (plus shipping, if applicable) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessing Boxes are small pantries stocked with free food and personal care items for people in need that are able to be accessed at any time. The provisional members coordinated a drive among JWL members to donate supplies to stock and replenish the boxes, but members of the general public are also encouraged to contribute items. “The blessing boxes allow people in need of a blessing to take one, and for people to share blessings with others,” said Emily Johnson, Blessing Box committee chair. Blessing Boxes have been installed in four locations around Johnston County, with another coming soon:
Benson Fire Department, located at 313 S. Elm Street
Selma Fire Department, located at 201 N. Webb Street
Smithfield Fire Department, located at 111 S. Fourth Street
Thanksgiving Fire Department, at 2375 Thanksgiving Fire Department Rd. (Selma)
“We have been so pleased with the results of both of these projects,” said Austin Yansom, 2018-2019 VP of Community Outreach & Engagement. “We hope that receiving a copy of Welcome Home really helps the women and children who are often charting a new course for themselves after leaving Harbor. Many of the recipes found in Welcome Home can be made with items that are often left in the Blessing Boxes, which is great. And the Blessing Boxes seem to be a hit, as we’ve seen the boxes getting a lot of use, particularly since school let out for the summer.”
JWL is accepting applications from prospective new members until August 1. Interested women ages 22 and older are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming New Member Interest Meetings:
- July 11 – 6-7:30pm – Simple Twist Taproom & Bottle Shop – 228 E. Market
- Street, Smithfield
- July 15 – 6-7:30pm – Boulevard West – 104 W. Main Street,
For more information about joining the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield, please visit www.jwlsmithfield.com.
About The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield
The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield (JWL) is a non-profit organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action of trained volunteers. Our organization was founded in Smithfield, but is dedicated to the betterment of all communities within Johnston County.