Durham business owner's take-what-you-need box making a difference in community

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DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The owner of Artpost Durham placed an emergency food box outside of her business during the COVID-19 pandemic. The take-what-you-need, leave-what-you-can box was a simple step to help others in the community, especially those experiencing homelessness.

"I think we're all so frustrated and like nobody knows where to start with trying to change things, you know, and trying to help people," said Holly Phelan, owner of Artpost Durham. "And I think if we can all just understand or recognize that every little bit helps."

The box was initially filled with food but when a note was left on the box requesting hygiene items, it revealed an even bigger community need for Phelan.

"This came from a young man who asked for a razor, shaving cream, nail file nail clippers," Phelan said. "Toothbrush and toothpaste, because at first everyone was just putting like those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner. But, where are you going to bathe? So I think I think if we can kind of look at it on a broader scale of like, immediacy and you know, you want to brush your teeth. So, I mean I just slipped it in there and it's almost all gone, probably 12 cans of shaving cream."

The post was shared on social media and Phelan said an outpouring of community support followed.

"We got a huge donation, it was great," she said. "We got this big Amazon box that someone sent, like 100 nail clippers and a bunch of stuff. It's all gone."

Phelan hopes to spread the idea throughout other areas of Durham inspiring others to take small steps to help those in need in their community.

"I kind of did the beta test and it's definitely been successful," Phelan said.
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