HAWKINSVILLE, GEORGIA: John Dennard, age 50, knows glass. For more than 24 years, the owner of Dennard’s Glass, has been designing and building and replacing glass in autos, residences and, as he puts it, “anywhere you need a piece of glass.”
Though his mailing address says, Eastman, Georgia, Dennard spends his days in Hawkinsville, and attends church there at the 1st CHC (Congregational Holiness Church) on Liberty Street. In his daily journey with work and at church, he began to observe something that really bothered him.
“There are a lot of people hungry in Hawkinsville,” he told The Murphy Gazette during a phone interview Tuesday.
He continued to explain that he has always had this perceptiveness about people and their needs. “God will show me the needs, and prompt me to do something about it.”
Dennard laughed, “I get directions and if I don’t follow them, I get a whipping.”
“I was raised poor, but we never knew we were poor … love covers a multitude of things,” he added.
Around the time that his heart was touched for helping the hungry, Dennard noticed a story about a ‘Blessing Box’ someone put in their front yard. “Someone had posted it somewhere, and I started researching it.”
The idea stayed on his mind and in his heart. Giving to others, especially during the holidays, is not new to Dennard, but this project felt different. He wanted it to be about taking care of the people in his community.
When he approached his pastor, Dwayne Burney, about the idea, Dennard said, “He was like, if you feel like God is telling you to do it, why wouldn’t you?” His wife and three sons have been a tremendous support.
During an off time with work, Dennard, and his son, who helps him in his business, started tinkering with the idea. They had help with the building of the box and the lettering on the door. “He is the muscle and I am the brains,” he snorted an infectious giggle.
When he approached his church about the idea, which included receiving permission to do it and figuring out to store the excess food donations he hopes to receive, his church was immediately behind him. “They were like why have not you built it yet?”
He explained that a blessing box is similar to a ‘mini food pantry.’ “You put canned food items in there, and people in need, they can come get what they need or donate.”
Dennard continued to explain that there would be no papers or any lines or restrictions. “The words on the front of the box say ‘Take what you need, Leave What You Can, Little Becomes Much In The Master’s Hand.’”
The box is painted in a dark green color, which is special to Dennard. “That was my dad’s favorite color.” His father passed away to cancer.
Donors of the food items are asked to bring canned items that are pop top, as “not everyone has a can opener.”
“I told the church that if we saw someone getting food out or donating food in the box, that we shouldn’t approach them, we should just let God take care of it, and see what happens,” Dennard said.
The church will have a place to store food, and when the box needs refilling, they will make sure it is filled again. (Writer’s Note: Anyone interested in donating food can contact the church, Dennard or the pastor, Dwayne Burney.)
“If you can’t donate, it is OK. Just pray that people are genuinely blessed,” he said.
When asked to define hope, Dennard said simply, “Jesus.”
“All anyone has to do is read God’s Word .. .all the answers to life’s questions are there … He didn’t give it to us for it to lay on the shelf,” he said.
As for the Blessing Box, Dennard paused. “This is not about me or what I have done … there is a message here … and I am just the messenger.”
For more information about Hawkinsville’s Blessing Box at 9 Liberty Street, email Dennard at firstname.lastname@example.org.