Outside the Chapin Street home of Jeff and Suzanne Marinelli, Noah’s Blessing Box is never left empty.
The box Jeff crafted two years ago in memory of their son, Noah, remains filled with donations of dry and canned food, clothing, personal products and other items for anyone who needs them. With the dangerously cold temperatures, the box — and the socks and sweatshirts it contains — is especially appreciated.
“I’ll go out in the morning and it’s pretty much empty,” said Jeff, who built the blue box with its glass door and shelves for holding donations two years ago. The generosity of donors means the Marinellis stockpile goods in their hallway, ready to replenish the box. Sometimes they add to the box themselves.
Modeled after blessing boxes in Rochester, the box at 99 Chapin St. is both a blessing and a reminder of lives lost and families devastated in the opioid crisis. Noah Marinelli died June 29, 2016, in a heroin-related crash. He was 33. Another son, Michael, was arrested just last week on a drug charge.
Through connections made since losing their youngest son, the Marinellis said they have met so many who share their experience. It’s a heartbreak they wish no one ever has to endure.
Ontario County is not immune to this national crisis, as opioid-related deaths here rose from 17 in 2016 to 30 in 2017. The average age is 37 for deaths in 2016 through June 2018.