By AMBER STAHR
I walked into the Terrace of the Wilkinson Center Wednesday night. I saw hundreds of women gathered at tables. They were filling boxes with small newborn kits that contained blankets, and other items that most newborns need. Allison Sorenson, 20, from Tri-Cities, Wash., majoring in premanagement, was loading boxes.
“I think it’s incredible that this many people can get together and do something good,” Sorenson said. So many people ask what they can do to help, and this is something great that they can do, she commented.
School kits were being assembled by Lowene Davis of my home town, Portland, Ore. We talked a little bit about Oregon and then Davis told me that she was participating because she loves Women’s Conference.
“We do this kind of service project in our stake and we are planing to do it again,” Davis said.
I walked around the room some more and then I spotted President Batemen. I was impressed to see him right along side the other volunteers. He was also impressed at the magnitude of the project.
“Can you imagine someone coming out of Kosovo with a little baby, having left behind everything?” he said. President Bateman was putting small baby blankets into plastic bags as a part of the newborn kits.
“I can see people being blessed all over the world,” he said.
As I continued to survey the scene, I was overcome by the spirit of service that filled the room. I had come down there as a reporter, wanting to do a story on an important event. But for just one moment those responsibilities left my mind.
Yes, I got a little teary-eyed. And when I saw an old friend from back home, I lost my composure. My throat swelled up and tears began to blur my vision. Maybe it’s just because I am an emotional person. But maybe it’s because the people in that room were so amazing. There is no maybe about it. They all had such a desire to serve their fellow men. I was truly touched by their Christ-like love.
Ruth Gunther of American Fork was sitting at one of the tables in the Cougareat. She and the other volunteers at her table were counting buttons to be put in sewing kits. Gunther is also one of the presenters for the conference.
“We’ve been blessed with so much that we could bless the entire world,” she said.
And then there were other volunteers who were less willing to share their feelings about why they were serving. But their lack of words is no reflection of their willingness to serve. Nita Smith of Orem said she is a staff member here at BYU and just came after work to help.
Marg Roundy came to the service project with her two daughters.
“They told us that help was needed so here we are,” Roundy said. “We are going to make it a tradition now.”
Roundy and her daughter Diane Menousek of South Jordan were assembling hygiene kits in the Ballroom of the Wilkinson Student Center.
“We take for granted all of these hygiene supplies,” Menousek said as she held a bottle of shampoo.
And then I talked briefly with Sister Sheri Dew, second counselor of the Relief Society General Presidency. As she stood looking out at all of the volunteers serving franticly she said, “It’s just the way it should be.”
Sister Dew said the Relief Society hopes to do this type of service project next year.
“I don’t think we have time to do things that don’t matter,” she said.
Sister Dew said that many women came to the Women’s Conference just to participate in the preconference service celebration.