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‘Blessing Box’ Program Unveiled in Warwood

Photo by Scott McCloskey Darlene Stuckey, community relations representative for Unicare, displays contents of the Blessing Box located in Warwood’s Garden Park.

WHEELING — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Warwood’s Garden Park Wednesday for a program that provides access to a variety of household essential items for those in need.

Officials with Grow Warwood Pride, the Ohio County Family Resource Network, and UniCare Health Plan gathered to unveil a blessing box located along Warwood Avenue and Viking Drive at the southeast corner of Garden Park.

A blessing box is a community-driven initiative that provides access to essential items to those in need. Those seeking such items are welcome to take things as needed and those who can donate are encouraged to do so. The blessing box is always available, providing free access when it’s convenient for the recipient or donor. Several of these boxes have already been unveiled in other areas of the local community and around the state of West Virginia.

The Blessing Box contains a variety of household essential items including personal hygiene items, seasonal items like sunscreen or blankets, shelf-stable food, and educational pamphlets.

Grow Warwood Pride President Julie Davis said the Warwood organization will manage the box and assist with keeping it stocked.

“We recognize the pandemic has deeply impacted our community and we are lucky enough to form a partnership with UniCare Health Plan to create a way to provide access to basic necessary items to help ease the burden for our neighbors and friends,” Davis explained. “The blessing box is a natural extension of already existing programs that we’ve continued to provide for our community to ensure people have the resources to live a healthier life.”

Tadd Haynes, plan president, UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, said the Blessing Box is part of UniCare’s commitment to the whole health of individuals and families to address and close gaps in care in some of the most vulnerable communities.

“As part of our commitment to addressing the social drivers of health, UniCare has joined with Grow Warwood Pride to provide solutions for the community that lead to healthy, productive lifestyles.”

Darlene Stuckey, community relations representative for Unicare, said the organization wants to make sure they are doing everything they can to assist with the program and their members.

“We (Unicare) have placed several boxes throughout West Virginia,” Stuckey explained. “Now all three services are working together to make this happen today. … When you have everyone working together it helps our members in the community,” she added. Unicare officials say they are continuing to work to expand the Blessing Box program in other communities throughout the region.

Founded in 2016 and recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2018, Grow Warwood Pride is a grassroots volunteer driven community organization dedicated to improving our neighborhood through advocacy, community involvement, education, volunteerism, fundraising, and safety. The Warwood organization focuses on community empowerment, citizen engagement, and improving the quality of life for the greater Warwood area.

UniCare Health Plan of West Virginia, Inc. serves more than 180,000 Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries living in West Virginia. UniCare has served Medicaid beneficiaries in West Virginia since 2003 and WVCHIP members in 2021.

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