Food pantries in North Carolina’s greater Lake Norman, Gastonia, Charlotte and High Point areas received about 40,000 pounds of donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jan. 7.
With food pantries experiencing serious shortages due to COVID-19, and seeing an increase in need, the church has increased its efforts to provide food commodities to organizations across the United States using its own transportation system, Deseret Transportations. Caring for those in need is a foundational belief of the church. Based on principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability, the church’s humanitarian efforts give individuals and communities the tools they need to improve their own circumstances.
In its efforts to reach the needs of individuals, the church seeks to aid reputable organizations, large and small, that have established relationships within their communities and deal with needs on a day-to-day basis. JustServe.org, an online tool used as a resource to connect community needs with volunteers, played a significant role in thousands of pounds from the recent delivery being donated to the Ada Jenkins Center of Davidson, Serving Our Community with Kindness in Springwood Crisis Ministries (S.O.C.K.S.) in Belmont, Community Relief Organization (CRO) of Mount Holly and Hearts & Hands Food Pantry of Huntersville.
Gastonia area JustServe specialist Sabrina Johnson said, “I'm thrilled to see fantastic local organizations, including several of our JustServe.org partners, receive food commodities to add to their reach and impact locally. What a blessing to be involved in this effort. This much needed support for food stability will last long past the holiday drives, especially in this difficult time.”
Area clergy and members of the church came together to donate time and resources in receiving and delivering the food shipment. Bishop Nick Stowell of the Cornelius congregation said, “Our congregation was able to deliver food to the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson. This wonderful organization helps needy families and youth. In fact, one of the youth with us that day attended Ada Jenkins in the past and was excited to help. We hope we can continue to provide service to Mount Holly. Speaking of the experience, he could not stress enough how grateful these two worthy organizations were to receive the food commodities.
Regarding the Huntersville congregation’s experience, Bishop Kurt Woolley praised Hearts & Hands as “people of good will who dedicate their lives to others,” and acknowledged that “there are many people in our area who are in need. We were happy to play a small part in helping them multiply their efforts and expand their reach.”
To magnify its charitable efforts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2012 launched the nationwide JustServe.org website as a free service to the community. It was established to bring community volunteers together with opportunities to serve in ways that enhance the quality of life and assist those in need.