'Mystery box' helps unite east St. Paul neighborhood

- How well do you know your neighbors?

Do you know the names of all the people on your street?

A woman on the east side of St. Paul decided that something was needed to bring people together. So she started a mystery box six weeks ago and it really captured people's hearts.

"You know the old saying ‘one man's trash is another man's treasure’ - that's kind of what it is,” said Keenan Sullivan, a neighbor.

LeeAnn Larson started the thread on the East St. Paul Facebook page January 8 with 15 items. The rules are simple: if you take an item, replace it and add one more to the box. Post your find and then pass it along to someone who comments, wanting the mystery box next.

It now consists of three boxes: a hygiene box with a mix of toiletries, a food box with ready-made meals, and a miscellaneous box with crayons, clothes and more.

“What I got was a necklace with a cross made out of cubic zirconium, not nothing expensive,” said Sullivan. “It was cool and I put in an Xbox video game. The guy who picked it up from me is a friend of mine and I hadn't seen him for awhile, so it got us re-united. The lady who dropped it off to me, I've known her, but haven't seen her in years. It's got everyone getting back together. It's like a big family over here on the east side.”

“We have members, who live a half hour outside [the area], but they grew up here, so they are still part of it and they want to be included,” said Tryssa Enright, a neighbor. “Growing up on the east side, it's tight knit and lots of people love to help each other out, lots of friendly people.”

A little bit of friendship goes a long way.

“I think it's just to bring some happiness and pleasure over here on the east side,” said Sullivan.

LeeAnn is hoping that other neighborhoods will also start their own mystery boxes to make people smile.

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