By AMBER STAHR
Tables full of soap, shampoo and washcloths began to fill the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom earlier this week. All the supplies are in preparation for the Women’s Conference preconference service celebration this evening.
The Relief Society General Presidency and conference organizers want to say goodbye to this century by completing 1,999 hours of service in one evening.
Hygiene supplies, school supplies, fabric to make quilts, and other items will be assembled into kits that will be received by people in need all over the world. Welfare Services for the Church will distribute the items to 146 countries.
“Many will end up in Kosovo since that’s a pressing need at the moment,” said Neil Newell, manager of Technical Services for Welfare Services of the Church.
But the church hopes to deliver more than just items to third world countries.
“It’s not just kits or blankets or food we are delivering, but it’s hope and solace and comfort to people who are suffering beyond our ability to comprehend,” Newell said.
A major part of the service project will be the hygiene kits that will be assembled in the Ballroom of the WSC. Project coordinators plan to put together 31,000 of these kits. Each kit includes a hand towel, washcloth, toothbrushes, combs, shampoo, hand soap and a sewing kit.
Each sewing kit includes needles, thread and buttons. Four stakes in Farmington collected a quarter of a million buttons for the sewing kits. Patrice Swain, Stake Relief Society president for the Farmington North Stake said that the sisters in her stake were very willing to donate their buttons.
“Within four days we had over 55,000 buttons,” Swain said. “It really was very simple.”
DeAnne Campbell, project coordinator for the LDS Humanitarian Center said that the buttons are very important.
Sisters in third world countries just don’t have them, she said.
Volunteers participating in the project will also assemble 2,500 school kits containing school supplies, 2,500 newborn kits, 400 quilts and 2,000 topical bandages. These hand-crocheted bandages will be sent to leper colonies in India.
Martha Hall of Orem is a volunteer for the LDS Humanitarian Service Center who has been helping all week with this project.
“Even the poorest of the poor in America are rich in comparison to anyone in a third world country,” Hall said.
Something that President Thomas S. Monson said in his talk, “Our Brother’s Keeper,” has helped Hall to understand the importance of service.
“While we may not be able to do everything, we can and must do something,” President Monson said.
Hall said that this quote sums up how she feels.
“I must do something,” she said. “I’m not rich, but I have more than others.”