By Jacob Conde
Destitute families living in Orem and Provo received clothing and compassion from student volunteers at St. Mary”s Episcopal Church Wednesday, Jan. 28.
The volunteers were mainly from the BYU Jacobsen Center, working with the Food and Care Coalition of Utah Valley to sort and distribute donated clothing.
There were nearly 3,000 articles of clothing to distribute, including pants, sweaters, shirts and shoes.
Rev. Richard Weissert, the associate priest at St. Mary”s, said the church had been storing the clothes for some time in the building next to the church. They had so many clothing items they needed to get rid of them quickly and make room in the building.
“It was time to distribute them,” Weissert said laughing.
Rev. Weissert is also a board member for the Food and Care Coalition. He said the church was pleased to participate in the distribution effort.
The clothing was distributed by the Food and Care Coalition as part of their Community Storehouse project. The group provides food, clothing and even dental care to homeless and poor people in the area who complete a certain number of hours doing volunteer work.
Nancy Mickiewicz, the community resource director for Food and Care Coalition, said the goal of the organization is to have the people earn the benefits they receive, and not merely take handouts.
“When you work for things you take ownership in them,” Mickiewicz said. “When [someone] has to work really hard to get something, [they] take better care of it.”
However, because they had received so many donations of clothing, Mickiewicz said they would be distributed without asking people to earn them. Most of the donations came from Last Chance department outlet stores in Orem. There were also many other donations from various groups in Utah Valley.
Mickiewicz has been serving as director for nearly two years. Before that, she had worked as a volunteer for the Food and Care Coalition for five years. Although it can be difficult, Mickiewicz said she loves serving people and helping those who are less fortunate than herself.
“Sometimes the successes are few and far between, but you hold on to them,” Mickiewicz said.
Even though the work was unpaid, students said they got great rewards from serving others and helping people in the community.
Julie Redding, a sophomore majoring in community health, has been with the Jacobsen Center for a year and a half now. She plans on working for Church Humanitarian Services after graduation.
Opportunities to serve people in the community give her joy, as well as experience in her field, Redding said.
“They say service brings joy and happiness,” Redding said. “It says it in the scriptures, and it”s true.”