Vale woman gives back with community cupboard project

Melissa Wilson, Vale, wanted to give back to the community. So she decided to repair and paint an old chest of drawers and stock it with donated food products and other items for residents to take for free. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Melissa Wilson remembers well when her life fell on hard times.

She also recalls that when she needed help, the Vale community stepped up.

Now, Wilson has decided it is her turn to give back – in the form of a “community cupboard.”

About a month ago Wilson decided to refurbish an old chest as a place to hold donated items free for the taking, such as food and cleaning products.

“I put out a notice on my Facebook if anyone had a cabinet. Had a friend call me and I went and picked it up,” said Wilson.

She dismantled the cabinet and painted it.

“I probably have 25 to 30 hours into it,” said Wilson. “But not a lot of money. Just timewise.”

Wilson, who is a forklift driver for EP Minerals, said the paint and other items were donated.

Wilson said she isn’t experiencing hard times now.

“I felt super fortunate I am still working and my family is not struggling. But I know a lot out there are struggling,” she said.

Wilson placed the community cupboard on the south side of Mal’s Diner in Vale last Wednesday, May 6. Within a short time, donated items were already inside the drawers, and by Friday the cabinet was nearly full of donated goods.

Behind two black doors emblazed with the words “Community Cupboard” are four sets of drawers. Each drawer holds a particular product – such as canned goods, dry goods, produce and paper and cleaning products.

Wilson said with summer just around the corner, she hopes those who can will put in such items.

“I am hoping with gardening season we will have a lot of people bringing down fresh produce,” said Wilson.

Wilson said she motivated in part by the impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

“People lose their jobs or money is suddenly tight and I want to be able to help them, too,” said Wilson.

Wilson said wants the cupboard concept to catch on with residents.

“My hope is it lives beyond the virus. My hope is it outgrows the small little cabinet and we can get something bigger and better,” said Wilson.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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