“Russian Members Receive, Distribute Clothing, Shoes,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 112
Approximately sixteen tons of clothing and shoes have been shipped to St. Petersburg, Russia, and are now being distributed in an effort that could possibly involve every member of the Church in that country.
The supplies—hundred-pound bales of sweaters, hats, jackets, coats, gloves, and other winter clothing—were hauled up two flights of stairs by priesthood leaders, who stored the donated items in an apartment.
Vyacheslav I. Efimov, district president, said the clothing would be distributed according to need to members in the Church’s ten St. Petersburg branches and the two branches in Vyborg.
“In addition, members of the Church will contact government authorities to locate needy individuals and families, including the elderly, those with illnesses, and families with children,” President Efimov said. “Our members will take clothing and shoes directly to their homes. We will try to involve every member of the Church in these efforts. The missionaries will also participate.”
In a country where winters are cold and inflation is climbing almost every week, the clothing was a welcome gift. “Last year, the exchange rate was 30 rubles to the dollar; today it is 1,100,” noted Tatiana Akimova, Gospel Doctrine teacher in the St. Petersburg Nevsky Branch. “Last year’s winter coat for an adult cost 4,000 rubles. Today it is more than 40,000 rubles, an increase tenfold. We appreciate the support of Church members. When we receive these things, we truly feel that they are our brothers and sisters in the gospel.”
The shipment sent to St. Petersburg is part of the Church’s ongoing humanitarian efforts to provide assistance to those in need, explained Isaac C. Ferguson, the Church’s director of International Welfare/Humanitarian Service.
“For several years the Church has asked Deseret Industries to collect surplus clothing from all its stores. Virtually all of this clothing is used for charitable purposes,” he said.
During 1993, more than six million pounds of goods were sent by the Church to fifty-five countries in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Brother Ferguson said the Church will contribute more than six million pounds of goods in 1993.
“We work with dozens of private organizations doing relief and development work throughout the world. The Church provides these goods as a charitable contribution.”
In addition to clothing and shoes, Brother Ferguson said the Church provides medical equipment, supplies, and educational materials. Food is also provided on a selected basis and is shipped from the Church storehouses to crisis situations worldwide.