“Food, Clothing Sent to Needy All over the World,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 78
More than 28,000 food packages and several tons of clothing have been sent to needy and hungry people in Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Russia, and Haiti through Church humanitarian efforts. In addition, seventy-nine tons of food was sent to Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States during the Christmas holidays to relieve hunger.
“Over a recent three-month period, we’ve been authorized to distribute approximately fourteen loads of donations, a few containers at a time,” explained Isaac Ferguson, director of humanitarian service for the Church’s Welfare Services Department.
The international shipments were assembled in thirty-pound boxes in bishops’ storehouses throughout the central Utah area and in Atlanta by volunteers from various stakes and wards scattered throughout that area. Each food box contains ten pounds of flour, four pounds of dry beans, two pounds of rice, a canister of dry milk, a bottle of cooking oil, and eight cans of beef products. All but the rice and cooking oil are produced by the Church. Each package could sustain a small family for about two weeks.
Some 2,700 food boxes were shipped to Albania and 8,100 boxes to Bosnia by the end of November. Another 10,800 boxes for refugees in Croatia are to be shipped by the end of February. In addition, eighty tons of flour for pasta products will be shipped to Bosnia. Medical supplies will be included in most of the shipments.
Approximately five thousand needy families in Vladivostok, Russia, and twenty-three surrounding villages were also given packages, reported Garry Flake, a manager in the Church’s Humanitarian Service Division.
“It was a gratifying feeling,” he noted, “to think we could reach out and help people in a time of need and do it with resources that had come from a welfare services system that had been developed through the vision of leaders and the sacrifice of members.”
Brother Flake remarked that one older woman told him, “You’ve given us more than food; you’ve given us a happier new year.”
In most cases, distribution of the donated goods was handled through local Latter-day Saint leaders, the American Red Cross of International Services, and Caritas, a Catholic relief agency.
The mayor of Atlanta, Bill Campbell, publicly recognized the Church when it shipped 158,000 pounds of food to help relieve hunger there.
“I applaud the Church,” he said during a recent news conference. “God has blessed us today. He has blessed us with good weather, blessed us with a compassionate spirit, and blessed us with 158,000 pounds of food. As we touch more people, they will be uplifted by that.”
Local members in Georgia loaded the cases of food into trucks from twenty-six religious and charitable organizations. Those groups helped distribute the donations to those in need.
The Church has developed a resource center in the metro area of Atlanta to help members develop employment skills and increase job placement. The local cannery has also been made available free of charge to local qualified charities.