Sixteen months ago, Nicky Bassett stepped out in faith.

Working with her husband, Linc, and others, she helped start the first Blessing Box in Grove.

That box, located at 404 West Third, behind The Cole Organization, is designed to house small, non perishable food items, as well as household and personal hygiene products.

Little things, Bassett said, that often mean the most in life.

Since then, she's added boxes in the Turkey Ford area (at Mountain Movers Church), Monkey Island (Lake Center Baptist Church), and Jay (Jay City Hall).

On Sunday, Dec. 3, Bassett and others dedicated the fifth Blessing Box located on the grounds of First United Methodist Church in Grove.

A sixth box, set to be located at the Cowskin Fire Department building on Highway 10, will be in place once utility officials approve the site.

"God is good," Bassett said, as she watched her husband place the box on the post at the church. "[God] was the the complete inspiration for the first box. Then I had the idea for Jay. Since then it's just exploded in a good way."

Similar to the "Little Free Libraries" which have popped up across the United States in the last few years, Bassett's Blessing Boxes are designed to allow people to leave a blessing when able, or take a blessing when in need.

"The best thing is the boxes are open 24-7, for people," Bassett said, adding that while some people might not feel comfortable going to a food pantry for help, but be comfortable going to a box.

Bassett said people in the community often help monitor the boxes, keeping them stocked with non-perishable goods. She has even established private Facebook groups for each box, so interested people can communicate about various needs.

Donations can also be left at either Dar-Lynn Embroidery or Grand Lake Nutrition - either items for the box, or cash donations to purchase what is needed.

"I couldn't do this without the community's help," Bassett said. "With the community, the boxes wouldn't be possible."

Officials at the First United Methodist Church asked to become a Blessing Box location after senior pastor Rev. Randy Hamill heard Bassett speak at a Grove Rotary meeting.

He said the church's proximity to the Grove Early Childhood Center is a plus.

"We want this to be both a blessing for those in need, and also for those who want to share in their blessings," Hamill said. "We hope many people are encouraged, blessed and helped when they find themselves in a critical need."

Since creating the Blessing Box initiative, Bassett has also developed a similar program known as "Keep Grove Warm."

In that effort, she has placed coat racks at four locations in Grove. Dar-Lynn Embroidery, the Muddy Pearl, Salon Envy and the Doghouse Grooming.

At each spot people can leave coats, or take one as needed throughout the winter season.

It has also caused Bassett, along with Mandy Campbell, to form a non-profit organization known as Be The Change. 

That organization often works to help meet needs throughout the community. As a newly created non-profit, it can now take tax-deductible donations.

Bassett credits her faith, as well as memories of her mother, Jo, as her inspiration for the various projects.

"My mom had a huge heart," Bassett said. "I watched her do things as a child, to help others. This is a way to have her live on, through me."

Bassett said as a child, she wished someone had developed something like  a Blessing Box or coat ministry.

"This gets things out to people in need, and it also lets people, looking for things to do help in the community," she said. "This is a huge opportunity to help others, but it's a really simple thing."

Ultimately, Bassett just wants to make a difference in the community.

"If this just makes a difference for one person, then it will be worth all the hard work," Bassett said. "Little gestures can do big things in the community.

For more information about the Blessing Box or Keep Grove Warm, persons interested may contact Bassett through the Be The Change Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BeTheChangeGroveOK.