Friday, August 24, 2012


   The most important immediate need when a disaster hits is relocation and safety. In most areas there is an evacuation center. In many cases that center is an LDS Chapel.  People swarm to those locations as their homes are flooded or destroyed.
   As soon as safety is accomplished, food and water become the next priority. We have two lines of response to help those in need. One line of response is orchestrated through the Priesthood. This involves coordination from Bishops and Branch Presidents to Stake and District Presidents up to the area offices where we are located. Priesthood leaders are given resources to help the members.
  The second line of response is through Humanitarian Services of the church. We are under the direction of the Area Welfare Services and respond to the community and non-member needs. We have and are continuing to enlarge a network of sources that can give us accurate and dependable information on where and what the needs are. And those needs change daily as the calamity progresses. As needs are assessed, a plan of action is developed that generally includes food.
  This is the first of two large repacking events thus far during this calamity.

We sent out a call for volunteers. This was my first experience in the repacking event and was hopeful that we would get enough help to get the work done. We thought if we could get 150, we would be able to complete the work in one day. They started to show up early, and at one point I counted 230. But that number continually changed as people had to leave and others showed up. I learned a great lesson that day. The members don't have much, but they can give of their time to serve others.
It really looks chaotic, but they are getting it done. A wave of yellow 'Helping Hands' vests that is as beautiful as any seascape.
The packing involves breaking down 50 kilo rice bags into 3 kilo amounts to put in a food kit. We also add 6 cans of sardines, 4 cans of corned beef and 6 packages of noodles. This should help a family of 4 for 3 days or more. These kits are put back into empty rice bags and stacked for shipment.
We packaged thousands of kits that day. Bring on the trucks. We need to get it to the people in need.
No event is done until we can take the pictures. Lasting memories of time spent together in helping others. Even the youngest children fell the fun, excitement and joy of serving.

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