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Kindred Community Box being set up at Armory in Marietta

Jenny Bruce and Rick Nolan explain how the Kindred Community Box can be separated for transport to another location. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

MARIETTA — A Nicholas Sparks book about a mailbox has sparked an idea in a local woman to do the same in Marietta.

The book “Every Breath” is about a Kindred Spirit mailbox on Bird Island in North Carolina.

“It’s kind of a romance about a man and woman who put this mailbox in a location that is away from everything, away from civilization. It’s out here on this island,” said Marietta resident Jenny Bruce. “Nobody lives on the island. Anybody can go and write in the journals, or deposit mail that doesn’t identify them; it doesn’t have names or addresses.”

As a result of her idea, the Kindred Community Box will be set up outside the WASCO offices at the Armory in Marietta. They are asking for volunteers to paint the box bright colors from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“This mailbox has three elements. There will be journals and pens in the top. There will be an ‘in’ section and an ‘out’ section,” Bruce explained. “WASCO will manage the box, so it will be a project for them, but it will also be a way to link them to the community. I loved the whole concept and thought Marietta needed a kindred spirit box.”

Journals and pens will be placed in the box for local residents to anonymously share their hopes, dreams and fears. The ‘in’ and ‘out’ sections are for people to leave recipes or things for others in the community, or they can ask for something they need.

The box will be available limited hours, as they don’t want it to become a place for trash or thievery.

It will be open to the public from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Unless it is at a location for a week, it will be housed outside the WASCO offices at the Armory. There are no stairs to the WASCO offices and parking is just outside the door.

Bruce said she hopes this becomes a kindness project that brings positive end results to people. She would like for people within the community who feel disconnected to read pages from the journal and find something they can relate to.

“We have people out here who have no one, they could connect here, not directly, but indirectly. It will be a no judgment zone,” she explained. “I think everybody has a time in their life when they feel disconnected. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I think it happens.”

Sara Stanley, direct support professional at WASCO Inc., was approached with the idea and thought it would benefit a lot of people.

“Even if they don’t want to put something in (the journal), they can just stop and read ‘hey, this person’s having a hard time and is asking for a prayer.’ ‘Had a great time in Marietta,'” she explained.

Stanley will be setting up a Facebook page that follows the kindness mailbox journals.

“Nothing that would be damaging to anyone would ever be posted. Everything is supposed to be anonymous,” Bruce said. “So, I think it could bring a community of following naturally. I can follow this on FB and ‘I love that quote or that recipe’ and Sara and her group get to be the ones that distribute that…that hope, kindness and thoughts.”

Rick Nolan is a woodworker and owner of Ricker Woodworx. Bruce approached him about building the box.

“This one is mobile, it breaks apart,” she said. “It can travel, it can go to festivals.”

“We thought about taking the box to schools and collaborating with either the guidance counselor or language arts teacher and maybe say, ‘do you want to put this in your curriculum,'” Stanley said.

Kids can often find it difficult to articulate their feelings, but Bruce said they could “write it in a book that would come back to a community of people who would see it. It’s an outlet, kind of.”

Stanley said WASCO will make sure the content is appropriate and anonymous. Any names will be blacked out.

“I just feel so excited for this opportunity for Sara and her crew, and for the community. I pray the community gets behind this,” Bruce said.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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