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Behind the box

The journey of a single peach through the hands of thousands of Latter-day Saint volunteers to the mouths of a hurricane-torn family is proof that through small and simple acts of service the Church can collectively accomplish something large.
Illustration by John Clark
The story started at a Church welfare farm in North Ogden Utah where local members cared for peach trees. In late summer of this year volunteers picked a bumper crop of peaches.
The peaches were delivered to a Church cannery in Lindon Utah where they were cleaned and processed by additional volunteers.
Now bearing the Deseret label the canned peaches were transported to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City where still more volunteers placed them into family food boxes. Those boxes where then loaded — again by volunteer Church members — onto a truck and driven to Texas.
LDS volunteers there unloaded the truck and carried the food boxes into the home of a needy family in the greater Houston Texas area; they were still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Ike that devastated their community.
The family opened a food box filled with enough to feed them for a week to 10 days. They found rice vegetable oil peanut butter fruit drink mix and a single can of peaches.
We pay tribute and rightfully so to the many members who are on the front line providing relief for those in need. And they deserve a lot of thanks for their effort said Dennis Lifferth managing director of Church Welfare Services. But behind that box of food that is delivered in Texas are another 1000 man-hours making it possible to put this box together…. Behind those boxes are hours and hours of devoted hard work by members who want to serve.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesVolunteer labor allows the Church to provide humanitarian assistance to disaster victims across the globe.
Brother Lifferth said there are four important pillars that help support the Churchs welfare system.
• First he said is the opportunity for Church members to reach out and give service to others. The system is set up to bless both the giver and the receiver he said. It provides a way for members who have a compassionate heart who want to serve to be able to do it in a way that is consistent with the principles of the gospel.
• Second is the belief that the Church can help people help themselves he said. It allows those in need the opportunity to work he said.
• Third is the increasing ability of the Church to cooperate with other humanitarian organizations across the globe including Catholic Community Services Islamic Relief and the Red Cross. We want to work with our neighbors he said.
• The fourth — and most important — pillar is faith he said. As we help others and we do it in the Lords way it makes a lasting difference.
Part of what makes the Church so effective he said is the principle of preparedness. Preparation is key — an essential part of welfare he said.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesLatter-day Saints harvest a bumper crop of peaches from Church farm in North Ogden Utah. Some peaches will help victims of disasters.
The Church has 138 storehouses located around the Western Hemisphere; 108 of those storehouses are in the United States and Canada and 128 are operated entirely by volunteers. Food items for the storehouses are produced at canneries and other facilities across the United States.
Each year 14 Church canneries produce 12.6 million cans of food. In addition Deseret Bakery produces 453594 loaves of bread Deseret Pasta produces 938505 pounds of pasta and Deseret Soap produces 2.6 million pounds of soap. Deseret Dairy produces 9.8 million pounds of milk 1.5 million pounds of powdered milk and 727251 pounds of cheese.
The Deseret label represents compassion hard work and high quality said Brother Lifferth. It is the only brand that money cant buy he said noting that the products are not sold but distributed to the poor and needy and victims of disasters.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesChurch members volunteer time at a Church cannery in Lindon Utah. The peaches canned at the facility will be sent to some of the Churchs 138 storehouses located in the Western Hemisphere; 128 of those storehouses are operated entirely by volunteers.
Over the years Brother Lifferth said we have watched the system grow and develop. Many years ago it was difficult to take care of our own.
Now he said reaching out is possible because of the breadth and depth of what the Church does.
In essence members can go out and pick the peaches in the orchard. And they can go the cannery and put the peaches in a can. And they can help stock the cans in the storehouse or put them in a box that will eventually be given to someone in need.
It all works he added because people want to express their deep feelings of compassion for others in ways that will make a difference.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesCanned peaches packed in food boxes at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City Utah and then transported to Houston Texas.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesFood boxes sent to help victims of Hurricane Ike in Houston Texas contained rice vegetable oil peanut butter fruit drink mix and peaches — enough food to feed a family for a week to 10 days.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesCanned peaches helped members of Carlos Flores family of the West Green Ward Houston Texas West Stake.
Photo by Howard Collett/LDS PhilanthropiesGrown on a Church farm in North Ogden Utah peaches were harvested by local members processed at a cannery in Lindon Utah.
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