ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The family of Debbie Kesling gathered Tuesday, June 15 to dedicate the placement of a Blessed to Blessing box near Sam Green field at the softball complex at Garrett Park.
“She touched so many lives in this community and this is a way to honor her memory,” said Kesling’s niece Katie Green.
Before Kesling died of cancer in April, Green said she put it on her heart to do something to make a difference in her community.
“When I saw the Blessing Boxes on Facebook, I just knew that it was Aunt Debbie sending me a message,” Green said. “I knew this is what I had to do.”
She reached out to the organization’s founder Lori Keelin who, along with Kesling’s daughter, Medea Abrego, and her two children, made a presentation and received approval to place the box at the field named for Kesling’s father, Sam Green.
The front of the box was designed by Susan West of Gulf Shores Vinyl with help from Green.
The box includes Kesling’s name, a bible verse, 2 Corinthians 9:8, which was also read by Kesling’s grandson Maddox during the council meeting, and a rendering of a turtle.
Green said she wanted the turtle because West is a member of the Share the Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Program in Gulf Shores.
“I just knew that she and my Aunt Debbie would have been best friends, so I wanted to include that on there,” Green said.
The three-foot by three-foot boxes, which were built by students at the South Baldwin Center for Technology, are designed to hold non-perishable food items donated by local residents.
“We want the boxes to be in out of the way places where people can feel free to come and donate and receive the donations anonymously,” Keelin said during the May council meeting. She was unable to attend the June 15 ceremony, Green said.
There are now about 40 boxes, mostly throughout Baldwin County, but the group has recently branched out into neighboring areas.
There are currently two other boxes in the Robertsdale area, Keelin said, one at the R.A.C. fitness center and one at the Robertsdale United Methodist Church.
Green said she thought the Blessing Box was a fitting tribute to her aunt because giving money to people who needed groceries was something she did regularly.
“Something I found out (after she died) was that if Aunt Debbie saw someone in the grocery store who needed help paying for their groceries, she would give them money,” Green said. “This was something she did that she didn’t want anybody to know about, so this is a fitting tribute to her.”