(WHAM) - When a Canandaigua couple's son died almost three years ago, they knew they had to do find some way to honor him. They wanted something that would last, and capture his generous spirit.
What Jeff and Suzanne Marinelli settled on was a small wooden box, perched on a pole, outside their home at 99 Chapin Street.
It's called Noah's Blessing Box. And it has exceeded the Marinelli's expectations.
"When we were in Rochester, one day we saw this blessing box in front of a church on Culver," said Suzanne Marinelli, who had to ask her daughter Rachel what it was. "She explained that it's a blessing box and people just leave donated goods and if you need it you can take it. And my poor husband Jeff, I looked at him, and said 'I need you to build me one of these.'"
Not only did Jeff Marinelli build that box, he continues to keep it filled with food and household goods.
"I usually fill the box twice a day," Jeff said. "I had one day where I filled the box seven times just to keep up with demand."
There are also hats and mittens hanging nearby.
The concept is simple: If you need something, take it. It's yours. No questions asked.
Noah Marinelli was killed in a car crash in 2016. The crash was related to Noah's addiction, which is why there is information about addiction treatment resources attached to Noah's Blessing Box.
But while he struggled, the Marinellis also describe their son as a blessing to them, and to his many friends.
"He was very generous," Jeff said. "He would always take time to help somebody. So I try to model my own life after that."
This blessing box is certainly a blessing to those who need the donated goods inside. It also serves as a tangible memorial to Noah's spirit, and a reminder that the world is still filled with good people.
"The people of this community bless us and we are happy to be part of a community that can bless those that are in need," Suzanne said.
Just recently, the Marinellis received their biggest donation ever, the result of a food drive by Canandaigua Crossfit. But most donations are smaller, often left on the Marinelli's front porch. =
"There is joy in giving," Suzanne said. "And when people do give they get to experience that joy. and there's nothing quite like it."