Lake George Jr.-Sr. High School Freshman Takes Initiative to Combat Rising Poverty and Homelessness

A Lake George student is addressing the increase in national poverty and homelessness exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a cadette-level Girl Scout, Lake George freshman Nevaeh Howe has embarked on a mission for her Silver Award that exemplifies compassion, community spirit and dedication to making a positive impact.

“I wanted to give back to my community,” Navaeh said. “I was shocked to learn that people in Glens Falls had a 35% increase in poverty and homelessness over the COVID pandemic.” 

Recognizing the urgent need to address food insecurity and hygiene product shortages among vulnerable individuals, Nevaeh decided to create a Blessing Box. She built a free-standing pantry at Calvary Church in Glens Falls and stocked it with essential food and hygiene items that will be accessible throughout the week for people who struggle to reach conventional food pantries during their operating hours.

Nevaeh chose to place the Blessing Box at the Calvary Church in Glens Falls when she discovered that the poverty level in Glens Falls is significantly higher than in other nearby areas. Additionally, the pantry is in close proximity to the Wait House and Code Blue Shelter, and this will provide vital support to individuals experiencing homelessness, she said.

Nevaeh envisions it as a communal effort, encouraging local residents to contribute to the pantry whenever they can or utilize its resources when they are in need. The blessing box is open 24 hours a day and people can come take items or stock items as needed.

“I’ve seen so many people taking and leaving items, and it really shows that people need the Blessing Box,” Navaeh said. “But also so many people are willing to give.”

Nevaeh, herself, plans to diligently restock the pantry on a weekly basis with a consistent supply of necessities. The Calvary Church has pledged to add canned foods to the box every week, coinciding with their food pantry distribution day.

“I’m always amazed by the unique and special things that our students participate in,” said Francis Cocozza, Lake George Jr.-Sr. High School principal. “This is a great example of an incredible idea that gives back to the wider community. We’re so proud of the great work done by Nevaeh.”